ACTS 2:3 (NIV)
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
When people talk about the Holy Spirit in the language of being empowered by the presence of God actively moving within our hearts, many Christians across history have used the language of fire to describe the experience. Fire is also often used as a metaphor for love, and as we look at the Acts 2 motivated church in the New Testament, if there is one word that describes their lifestyle and sense of purpose, it is love.
If the Holy Spirit is God, and God is love as we are told in 1 John 4:7-13, we can begin to see the fire lighting on the disciples as the fire of heaven’s unique kind of love filling them – for wholeness and for mission. A mission of power was not gripping their hearts. A mission of love was laying hold of them—a mission that first sought them, and then created a desire in them to seek others. The Spirit of Jesus was filling them – and his love was about to be the source of the miracles that would follow those who believed in his name.
Let’s look at the Pentecost experience once again, seeing it through the lens of God’s love.
The upper room is in a holy ruckus of the elements – a loud sound like a roaring wind is at level 10 volume, and now “tongues of fire” are floating in the air, seeming to separate and “come to rest” on each of them! What a sight! This is a full-on audio-visual worship experience the disciples are having together; they are being loved by God, body, mind, and soul – and that heavenly love is shaking the walls with its power!
The fire, like the sound of wind, is coming from “heaven” (v. 2), the place where Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. After ascending to the right hand of the Father just 10 days earlier, fulfilling the words of Psalm 110:1, Jesus connects heaven and earth in a dynamic, new way. Heaven’s winds are blowing, and heaven’s fires are blazing as earth’s people – the disciples – are being caught up in heaven’s reality. A heaven-and-earth people are being born in a new way, those who are “seated in heavenly places” with Christ (Eph. 2:6) and who can now live and see things – heart and mind engaged – from a heavenly perspective (Col. 3:1-2).
Heaven and earth meet in a profound new way when the Spirit fills a person, and we begin to have the heart of God for ourselves and for others. If wind moves static things and gets still things in motion, fire addresses things that are cold and need warming, heating, energy. Love is the fire that burns in the heart of God for the world. The love of God is the greatest power in the cosmos—and when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are filled with the love of God for ourselves and others.
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. You promised a full-immersion, heavenly baptism to your disciples, and I am invited to the same. Come, Holy Spirit. Baptize me in your full, empowering presence. I am ready to be filled to overflowing with the fire of your love for the world around me.
What teaching have you had about the baptism of the Holy Spirit? How does that impact how you see the Holy Spirit at work in your life right now?
Do you want more of the Holy Spirit than you seem to be experiencing right now?
For the Awakening,