Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.”[b] 32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water. 1 kings 18
We’ve got to get ready in the simple every day parts of our lives. If you want fire in your life you don’t just go “boom here I am, I’m ready” – you prepare.
The amazing encounter with God, the fire falling on the altar came after the altar was rebuilt, after the trench was dug, after the wood was cut and after the ox was prepared. All of these elements take work. Digging. Building. Hard Labour. Elijah had to prepare for the fire to come.
Paul puts it like this – fan into flame. Press on. Run the race.
Chop the wood. Pray. Read the Bible. Go to church. Serve. Give. Worship.
Do the everyday things to make your life an altar for the fire to fall.
Chopping the wood takes time, effort, and consistency. It is often done in the unseen places, in private preparation.
Have you ever watched a movie and been amazed at the transformation of an actor? I know things like that fascinate me and I am a geek so often will look up stuff about the behind the scenes information about movies and actors.
For example, Hugh Jackman used to run on a treadmill at the gym and sing at the top of his lungs to prepare for Les Mis.
Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson spent so many hours training with their lightsabers for the highly coordinated battles that they had to actually slow down the footage because they were too good.
Here’s a geeky thing for you: when Star Wars – The Phantom Menace was released in 1999 2.2 million employees in the US skipped word to see the movie. This unauthorized absence was estimated to have cost the US economy $293million!
We see the finished product and enjoy the entertainment but behind the scenes someone has spent hours preparing for that role.
Your life is telling a story and this year is a brand new chapter in that adventure.
What are the everyday private things, the behind the scenes things, the decisions, the actions, the disciples, that frame your life and prepare you for the highlight reel moments?
What are the habits that you have curated that build your life a life of faithfulness?
What are the intentional actions that you do to build your marriage, to love on your kids, to connect with those in your world, to grow in your calling and steward the life that God has given you?
Character is learning how to make the little choices along the way that ultimately add up to who we become. It’s learning when to say yes and when to say no.
Building a lifestyle of worship, of faithfulness, of passion and purpose chops the wood and gets you ready for the fire to fall.
It’s like you’re painting a massive target on your life saying here am I Lord, send me!