“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” Psalm 105:4
I love to read the English Puritans. They’re not easy to read and they demand much from the reader. But the reward is great, for here one can discover a generation that panted after God, a generation that pursued—with noteworthy devotion—the satisfying goodness that is found only in the “One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy.”
One of these Puritan writers was a man named George Swinnock, one of the easiest Puritan theologians to read. He lived and wrote and preached in the middle of the 17th century, but his writings are still fresh and powerful today. They are in fact like sanctified bellows: they stir and awaken holy fire.
In one of his volumes, Swinnock writes the following: “If water be taken from the fire when it is a little warm, it cooleth quickly. He that would have it boil must rather increase the fire.” Swinnock knew from experience that unless the Lord’s presence is sought continually, as the Psalmist bids us to do, the fire of personal devotion grows dim, and the warmth of our affection for Jesus Christ is lost with alarming speed.
The Lord Jesus wants his followers to be hot in the intensity of their devotion to him. He has no love for lukewarmness. He desires that his disciples are ignited by holy fire: hot in their love for him, hot in their willingness to obey him and be conformed to his image, hot in their appetite to see him high and lifted up in all of his magnificent glory.
But to experience this spiritual heat, as Swinnock writes, we must be consistent. We must seek his presence continually. We must not remove our souls from the holy fire, from daily prayer, from daily meditation in the Word, and from the spiritual grace of gathering together as his people in common worship. We need this always. The moment we draw back, we cool, we diminish.
We don’t need to lose heat. The Lord Jesus Christ knocks at our heart, inviting us to draw near to the fire of God’s presence. He offers us not an intermittent communion, but a constant one. In spite of the ever present danger of growing cool in our affection for the Living God, Christ is here, by the Flame of his Spirit, to lead us onward to a full rolling boil.
Seek his presence continually! He who calls you to this is faithful. He will surely answer you and ignite your mind and heart with his holy fire.
To God alone be the glory,