Fan the Flame



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Leviticus 6:8–9

The Lord said to Moses: “Give Aaron and his sons this command: ‘These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar.’”


Yesterday we began building an altar with our lives, and today we will learn that the altar fire must be kept burning. What does that mean? First, let’s admit that many of us have not put the book of Leviticus on the top of our reading lists. It might be that it doesn’t seem relevant. If you skim through the pages, the topics of skin diseases, priests, and festivals do not seem to be important to us thousands of years after it was written. I understand. Leviticus provided rules and guidelines for the Israelites after they had been rescued from slavery in Egypt and it taught them how to live practically as a reflection of their faith in the one true God. Within these guidelines are lessons about altars and offerings. They remind us of the temporary system God gave His people, but they also teach us how Jesus’s life and resurrection became our ultimate offering and the fulfillment of God’s covenant.

What does the Lord tell Moses about the fire for the altar? It must be kept burning. Growing up, as I watched TV, there was a commercial for a hotel chain that ended with, “We’ll keep the light on for you.” It conveyed a constant vigilance and readiness to welcome the guest whenever they arrived. If our lives are to be an altar, we need to stay vigilant and be ready for when the Lord returns. Each Old Testament altar would require a fire to consume the offering, and it would be up to the priest to tend to the flame. It would have been fairly easy to keep the fire burning when the offering was first placed on the altar, but to maintain the fire throughout the day and night would have meant a constant watch. The priest couldn’t set the offering on the altar and walk away or get distracted. He couldn’t check on the fire one day a week or when it was convenient. He had to fan the flame to remain alert and ready to encounter the presence of God.

Being a follower of Jesus means we are also asked to fan the flame of our spiritual lives. The disciples didn’t clock in from 9 to 5 and take the weekends off. We cannot pop into church and check the box of weekly worship or monthly giving. We must fan the flame and attend to the fire on a daily basis so we may experience the fullness of life in Christ. The apostle Paul, a follower of Jesus who wrote and influenced many of the books in the New Testament, warned other believers to “not quench the spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19). Think of a campfire that has dirt or ash strewn on it. The flame will be diminished and could go out. When we are inconsistent in spending time with Jesus, it’s like dampening a fire with ash so the heat does not reach as far as it once did and the fuel doesn’t burn as brightly.

How brightly are you burning right now? Where has ash been thrown on the fire of your spiritual life? When we fan the flame with our attentiveness, we become ready to respond as the Holy Spirit leads us and we become light to those around us.


Lord, there are days when it feels like the fire of Your presence is just a little smoke coming from smoldering ash. Forgive us when we have taken Your presence for granted and we have not been attentive in our prayer lives. Amen.


In what ways are you quenching the Spirit by not attending to your spiritual life? What will you do this week to fan the flame of your altar?

For the Awakening,
Susan Kent

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. “We cannot pop into church and check the box of weekly worship or monthly giving. We must fan the flame and attend to the fire on a daily basis so we may experience the fullness of life in Christ.” It’s time “to respond as the Holy Spirit leads.”

    Christianity isn’t about a program in a church; it’s about Christ’s presence prompting and directing your heart. It seems that the Holy Spirit is rarely given the chance to lead a church service all by Himself without human programming.

    I woke up this morning with these thoughts developing in my heart: “There’s so much more to Jesus than church attendance. Discover and delight in His daily presence! I wish that everyone would discover and delight in the presence of ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.'”

    Let Jesus be your internal flame that never goes out! To fan the flame, ask yourself: “What’s Jesus doing in me?” “What have I seen Jesus do?
    Wherever you are, ask, “Is Jesus doing anything here?” Ask a pastor on Sunday morning, “Can you tell me something that Jesus is doing here?” God’s fire on the altar of our heart must come from what Jesus is doing. We can’t light it all by ourselves. However, we can nurture and tend God’s inner fire and stir up His gifts within us by courageously hearing and obeying His still small voice and refusing to quench His Spirit.

  2. Jesus himself spoke to fact that our salvation was dependent on our abiding in him, (John 15:1-6). The Apostle John wrote pretty much the same warning in his first epistle, (1 John 2:24, 3:24). So I believe that the best way to insure that we maintain the flame is to believe on Christ, abide in him, and to obey his teachings by our submission to his Holy Spirit within us, evidenced through proclamation of His words and a Godly lifestyle.

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