Luke 24:32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”
A.W. Tozer, a 19th century preacher, author (and I would say, prophet), coined the phrase “children of the burning hearts.” He talks about how we taste the Lord in such a way that we ever thirst for more of Him for the rest of our days.
These two disciples on the road to Emmaus experienced the unfolding of the scriptures in such a way that they burned, revealing Christ’s presence, and the truth that He was the fulfillment of every prophecy and promise of God.
I think it is one of Jesus’ favourite things to do – to quicken the living Word to our hearts, cause them to burn in His holy flame, illuminating Himself to us. The words of God revealing The Word – Christ Himself.
A few times in my life, the scriptures “burned” in my heart. The beginning was when Jesus first revealed Himself to me and I gave my life to Him. The church where I heard the message of being loved, known and saved by God gave me a white King James Bible. I had never read scripture before. I read it on the way to work on the bus, read it on the roof top of the place I worked at during lunch break. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever read. I didn’t understand much of it but the beauty of it burned.
Then when I was a young mother of three, I became hungry to have a life that resembled the disciples’ experience, and how the power of the Spirit flowed through them. I realized that I needed this power in order to be a decent mother, which I considered my vocation at the time.
There was an annual conference held by the Mennonites at Bingeman’s Conference Centre (in Kitchener). It was called Abundant Life. I went to the workshop on being filled with the Spirit. I remember being nervous, not wanting to be taken off into wrong teaching. But as I listened to the teaching on what the filling of the Spirit would bring, the “burning” of the scriptures was held out as a key result of being filled. God met me that day.
My youngest was two and asleep in a big old baby buggy but she woke up to witness her mother being prayed for and experiencing more of what I first tasted of God in our initial joining…such great love. In the days following, the scriptures were so alive, beyond words on a page, burning life and wisdom into my heart through revealing the living God to me.
As we move through these days of engaging with the resurrection at a time when the whole world is in turmoil and has become completely unfamiliar to us, we need a fresh burning in our hearts through Jesus unfolding the beautiful truths in the scriptures. I believe that I have discovered what my prayer is as we come closer to celebrating Pentecost: a fresh burning of the scriptures that reveal the Christ that I love.
Let’s take a portion of Psalm 119 and pray through it in light of the resurrected Jesus opening the scriptures to our hearts.
LORD Jesus, I know that true happiness lies in walking in the light of your word. Joy overwhelms everyone who keeps the ways of God, those who seek you as their heart’s passion! I want to walk in abundance of life that I may always live to obey your truth.
Open my eyes to see the miracle wonders hidden in your word. My life on earth is so brief, so tutor me in the ways of your wisdom. I am continually consumed by these irresistible longings, these cravings to obey your every commandment!
Revive me by your word, just like you promised you would. I’ve poured out my life before you, and you’ve always been there for me. So now I ask: teach me more of your holy decrees. Open up my understanding to the ways of your wisdom and I will meditate deeply on your splendour and your wonders. My life’s strength melts away with grief and sadness (in this pandemic); come strengthen me and encourage me with your words. Keep me far away from what is false; give me grace to stay true to your laws.
Cause my heart to bow before your words of wisdom and to the wealth of this world. Help me turn my eyes away from illusions so that I pursue only that which is true; drench my soul with life as I walk in your paths. Reassure me of your promises, for I am your beloved.
Portions of Psalm 119 (The Passion Translation)
May the scriptures burn in your heart.
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