On a bike ride a few months ago I came across a US Forest Service sign that had this warning written on it: Fire Prevention Starts at Home. As I rode by it I sensed God speaking to me clearly. If I want to see the world set on fire then the flames need to burn the brightest at my house.
I realize that is not what the US Forest Service had in mind when they printed the sign. They want people to be careful with fire in their homes so that it doesn’t lead to fires elsewhere. God wants the opposite to happen, spiritually speaking. He wants us to be zealously on fire for Him and for that to spread like wildfire.
But that will not happen if we are not living it out under our own roof. You can’t ignore your own soul’s need for time with God, neglect time spent in prayer with your wife and fail to be a spiritual leader with your children and then show up at church and be a powerful leader or a an effective witness for Christ at work. If your own house isn’t burning how can you expect to catch anything else up in the blaze?
Nothing saps of spiritual strength and renders you powerless in public ministry so much as not living it out where ministry matters most, in private. If you aren’t fanning the flames at home you will have to conjure it up elsewhere; and fake fire is dangerous (Leviticus 10) and it lacks both heat and light.
Fire prevention starts at home.