Tongues of fire. What does that mean? It sounds kind of dangerous. For the enemy, it is. I read a commentary that put it this way: “Tongues symbolize speech and the communication of the Good News. Fire symbolizes God’s purifying presence, which burns away the undesirable elements of our lives and set our hearts aflame to ignite the lives of others.”
In Acts 8, Saul is persecuting believers going from “house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.” In verse 4 of Acts 8, “the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went.” Though they were persecuted and thrown into prison, their passion for Christ and their heart for spreading the Good News to the nations, far outweighed their fear.
In Acts 9, after Paul is converted, believers are afraid to meet with him because they didn’t believe he had truly changed. Paul is the prime example of how your past follows you but it doesn’t have to define you. The Church in Acts was constantly growing because they were constantly on the move. They didn’t waste any time but shared the “Good News wherever they went.” The church in Acts was an active church. Always looking for the opportunity to share the Good News. Even when Saul was persecuting them and throwing them in prison, they did not relent. Because they pursued God with such passion, people couldn’t help but notice that they were acting in a strength that was not their own.
Today, we as believers respond quite differently. We are so used to our own comfort and relying on our own strengths and abilities. It’s not that the Holy Spirit is any less powerful. There are so many things in our world that fight for our attention. Media consistently reminding girls of their “inadequacy” and television shows that remind guys of who they “should strive to be.” I pray that we could be the Paul and Peters of our generation. A people with an undeterred focus for Christ alone. A heart that beats for Him alone, that will share His Name no matter the cost- who strives to introduce this world to the goodness of Jesus because He alone is good. What is it that we are really afraid of? Rejection? You never know what that person thinks about in private. Your faithfulness may plant a seed in their heart that throughout time, God will continue to water. If we are afraid of rejection, then we can never grow. It’s not about us. Christ was “despised and rejected.” He knew not everyone would choose His grace, yet He still came. He paid the ultimate price. He laid down His life so that we could truly live.
So what are we really afraid of? It’s time to silence the voices of insecurity and doubt that drive us away from our calling, our mission. This world is our mission field and we are to be mission-filled. We must be so focused on our mission that we will go to the ends of the earth to share what Christ has done. Nothing else matters. Nothing else is worth living for, no One else. Nothing else is worth dying to yourself for. He deserves nothing less than our lives and our complete obedience. Because a heart after His and a tongue of fire can set this world ablaze by the power of the Holy Spirit.