United and Set Afire

United and Set Afire

by James Robison

If I was the pastor of a church, I would encourage my people to build a charcoal fire until they were successful. Not with self-lighting charcoal, but the kind you have to soak and light.

One winter a friend of mine went out to build a charcoal fire and couldn't get it lit. I went out and saw that the charcoal was scattered all over the grill, one little layer of charcoal. He was dousing it with the lighter fluid and putting a match to it. It would flare up and burn off, leaving him with dead, black charcoal.

Well, I had done this before and knew his approach wouldn’t work. I raked the chunks of charcoal into a little pile with my hands. Some of the briquettes trickled off and rolled down the side, but I meticulously picked up each one until I had a nice pyramid. As I was doing this, dirtying my hands as I worked so diligently to stack them, it was as though God Himself began chuckling at me.

“What are you doing?" I heard Him ask.

"I'm stacking this charcoal,” I said. “It won't light unless you get it all together where each briquette is touching others. That's what I'm doing, Lord."

"Isn't that something?" He said. "Why don't you preachers learn to do that with my people?"

God said, "My people are scattered all over the earth, accusing and avoiding one other, seldom touching each other, and preachers are running around trying to soak them in the oil of the Holy Spirit. You just soak them and soak them and soak them, then wonder why they don't get on fire."

He said, "My son already prayed for unity: that you may be one as We are one. A new commandment He gave you ‘that you love one another even as We love one another’ and become ‘perfected in unity.’ And by this the world will know you're My disciples – not Baptist, not Pentecostal, not Catholic, or anything else. My disciples, connected to one another and submitted to the Head – the Lord Jesus."

Then God said, "You can soak them in teaching and soak them in the Holy Spirit, but until my people agree to come together, truly seeking to preserve the unity of the spirit into which they were born in Christ in a bond of peace, you need not expect Me to light the fire. Let My people come together with this purpose: seeking Me as they did at Pentecost, and I'll light their fire. That's what I want to see."

I'm committed to that. May we all learn to love each other as Christ loves the church, so we can be a bright light in our dark world.

Adapted from James Robison’s 1984 message on unity, which airs this Monday on LIFE TODAY.

Tis So Sweet To Trust  In Jesus -Steven Curtis Chapman

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