Updated: Feb 18
While in the Prayer Room this morning sitting before the Father, this is where my conversation started. "Father, let's have an honest conversation. Where is my hunger level these days?" I began thinking about previous seasons of my journey with the Lord when my heart was bright and tender and easily moved with compassion and even tears at the nearness of God's presence and activity on my heart. In many of those seasons, I can remember a grace to keep moving closer to Him as my distractions were less and my heart was being pulled into the beauty of Jesus through His Word. The flickering flame was being fed by hunger and I was aware of it. My greatest desire was to treasure and keep those moments as close as possible like fine treasure.
In Luke 1 we see this powerful prophecy from Heaven through the angel Gabriel to Zechariah about his son to come, name John.
"For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, seven from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:15-17
This powerful prophecy was like a thunderous lighten strike on that generation as a promise that God still had a plan to bring many into His heart and fulfill His promise of sending a Messiah Savior for all of creation. This was to be John the Baptist life-calling and destiny even before he was born. He would serve as a clear spokesman and rallying cry to many to follow the Living God. He made it clear that because of sin, we have all been separated from our God. John was a forerunner voice of thunder to his generation. He regularly stood before the God of thunder and therefore had become a voice of thunder; "a voice of one crying out in the wilderness" (Is. 40:3). Look at this first statement from Gabriel about John: "He will be great in the sight of the Lord..." There would be something God would declare about John that would define him as GREAT; not great in the eyes of the world but in the eyes of Heaven. This is one of those references into God's perspective and definitions of greatness that flies in the face of the world's definition of greatness.
What made John a spiritual giant in God's eyes? Look at the prophecy again. Gabriel said that he would be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from birth. He was set apart from his beginning. There is always a beginning for each one of. When was your beginning. your start, your first filling and baptism of God's presence and power? I dare to believe that one of John's greatest strengths was his continued reminder of his weakness. John regularly chose to live simply and undistributed. He fasted food, chose simple clothing, simple food, simple living over the finer pleasures of his culture. He was great in the sight of the Lord because he sought the greatness of the Living God while seeking to fulfill the pleasures and dreams of the Nazarene Messiah, Jesus. There was a fire that was lit in his heart and he faithfully and regularly threw gasoline on that small and weak flame of the heart. John chose the eternal flame of God rather than the temporary lights of comfort and culture.
As I reflect back on my own journey, I have found that when I neglected to fan the flame of love in Christ fellowship through voluntary weakness my heart was neglected. It is like throwing cold water on a campfire. There may be a lot of smoke, but the reality is that just underneath the smoke there is a dwindling flame. The wine of this world has dulled the spirit of the fiery ones and has thrown cold water on the bonfire of revival fires. When I have allowed my heart to be consumed with cultural comforts and legitimate pleasures of this life (1 Cor. 10:23), my heart has grown smaller and smaller. My desires for the things of this world grew and the desire for the things of God diminished. We must tend the fire on our hearts, while setting wood on the altar, and keeping from quenching the fire burning on the inside, regardless of how small the flame of hunger may seem. A smallest of a match has the potential and power to consume a whole forest.
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
I want God's flame of love to grow in my heart. I want to walk with clarity and confidence and boldness in the midst of these evil days. I want to burn with the fire of God that is unquenchable, with a faith that is unshakable, and with a boldness that is untamable by the spirit of this age. What about you, today? I am praying that God would raise up a fiery John the Baptist generation again. Amen!
Intercessor & Preacher
"Given to the fasted lifestyle & calling a generation to the same"