When my furnace stopped working during the big February snowstorm, I went to the attic to investigate. The temperature was below zero outside, and I could hear ice in the motor that supplies fresh air to the furnace. Obviously, my drain lines were frozen. I tried to thaw everything out with a hair dryer and then a heat gun, but still the heater would only run for about 5 minutes and then shut off. After a very, very cold night, the next day the repairman checked everything out and said, “There’s nothing wrong with your heater. All the parts are in working order, but the condensation is supposed to drain out and the drain lines are frozen.” Our solution was to put a heat lamp under the furnace and drain the condensation into a five gallon bucket, which I emptied twice a day for the next 5 days. I must say, it felt kind of strange having to heat up my furnace to make it work correctly!
There are a lot of Christ-followers who are like my furnace. On the outside everything looks to be in working order. They attend Sunday School and worship, read their Bibles, pray regularly, and give tithes and offerings, but they can’t keep their fires burning! The fire in this case is the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. His power is still there, it just keeps being quenched. In a sense their “drain lines” are frozen. This happens because God intends for us to serve Him and serve others, use our spiritual gifts, worship Him, and share the gospel. These actions are always to be done in the power of the Holy Spirit as an “outlet” for the power He has given us. When His power is not being used by us and through us to serve God and others, we “shut down” and the fire is quenched. The Baptist Faith & Message explains the work of the Holy Spirit this way (with many supporting scriptures):
The Holy Spirit cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
So how do we keep the fire burning? According to Galatians 5, we must “be led” by the Spirit as we “walk” in the Spirit. This includes “living” by the Spirit as we display the “fruit” of the Spirit. The old hymn says it this way: “Holy Spirit, breathe on me, fill me with power divine; kindle a flame of love and zeal within this heart of mine.”