‘When preachers are on fire for Jesus, people come to watch them burn for Jesus’.
‘God’s method is a man, and you are that man’ (Dr. Colton Wickramaratne)
I heard a dynamic preacher proclaim the first statement above at a Conference I attended recently. It came out from his lips under the fire of the Spirit’s anointing. The second quote is a favorite statement of the Founder Pastor of Peoples Church, Sri Lanka, Dr Colton Wickramaratne; one he has consistently shared in his ministry over the years.
There’s something special about a preacher who’s on fire for Jesus. It has been my joy to hear many of them in my Christian walk. As I’ve tried to identify what keeps the fire burning within them, here are 5 characteristics I have noticed of a preacher who’s on fire for Jesus.
1) They Love God’s Presence And His Holiness.
Not only do they spend quality time in God’s presence, but they remain in that presence. You sense a spiritual grace around them. They are constantly speaking words of grace and spiritual nourishment with the people they meet through the day. They have found the truth of Psalm 16:11 which says, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures for evermore”.
Not only do they remain in God’s presence, but they also seek His holiness. For them, living holy helps them to preach with integrity. Psalm 24:3 says, “Who can stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart”. In the same light, the Senior Pastor of our church, Dishan Wickramaratne constantly says, ‘Live right, walk straight and God will do the rest’.
2) They Love God’s Word.
They give quality time to read and meditate on the word (Psalm 119:97). It is their most precious book & they have found the value of hiding it in their hearts (Psalm 119:11). It is the mirror by which they live and guide their lives (James 1:22-25). When that word is then proclaimed, it lights a fire in the receiver’s heart.
3) They Completely Trust God’s Word.
They are totally immersed in what they preach and they expect a great harvest from the Word. They believe that the Word will act as a fire or hammer when needed (Jeremiah 23:29) or as a double edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). That Word is a fire in their bones that needs to be spoken out. Jeremiah said, “His Word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed I cannot”(20:29). Their implicit trust in God’s Word creates similar faith in the hearers who also begin to trust that Word completely. The results follow for all to see!
4) They Carry the Anointing of God.
Being consistently in God’s presence and dwelling on the Word produces a rich anointing given by the Holy Spirit. When they speak the Holy Spirit moves in power and people listen and respond. The Apostle Paul said, “Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
5) They Consider Preaching to be Their Highest Calling.
They may do other ministry work, but preaching is their highest priority. They therefore treat it as a sacred responsibility and give of their best to prepare and preach a sermon. They have learned to love that calling. Paul in fact requested prayer that he may preach the message of Christ clearly (Colossians 4:4).
As I listen to such ‘Preachers on Fire’, my prayer is, ‘Lord, set me on fire whenever I preach your Word’. This is true for anyone who preaches or teaches the word of God, whether it be in a church pulpit, a small group, a youth meeting or a Sunday School class. Let’s be on fire for Jesus!
The Lord says, “I will make my Words in your mouth a fire” (Jeremiah 5:14)!