Fire In The Belly

Blue Bloods is a detective show wrapped around a devout Catholic family. Head of the household is Commissioner Frank Reagan, starring Tom Selleck and his moustache.

One meal, the father comments on his grown kids working in law enforcement and tells of their strengths. “Erin, you always stick to the letter of the law. You are just. Officer Jamie, you have a big heart. You are compassionate. Detective Danny, you just have fire in the belly!!”

F-I-R-E in the belly!

My fellow Christian, what has extinguished our fire? Why is our joy flat? Our Bible reading a chore? Our worship stiff? Our hospitality grumbly? Our generosity stingy? Our sharing on mute? Our prayers on less-is-more mode? And our face like a wet weekend?

Is it our suffering? Wondering why am I cursed like Job and the rest of the Instagram-ers have well pressed and perfectly aligned lives like a stack of towels at Bed, Bath & Beyond?(May it rest in peace.)

Is it our wounds inflicted by church-goers? Sheep do bite. We expect for the wolves to attack, and we get shocked that the cute woolies are capable of digging their choppers into another sheep’s flesh.

Is it our complacency? I am happy and saved. Almost every Sunday I show up in church. And when I don’t, cafe-late in hand, I watch my favorite skinny-jean pastor giving a motivational pep-talk.

Is it our busyness? Many a Christian take the dreadfully-busy badge of honor as a sign of spiritual maturity. We shall be martyrs hanged by our schedules, dropping dead at the altar of serving.

No matter what hijacked our zeal, are we willing to pray and investigate how we can rekindle the fire in the belly?

King Josiah had fire in the belly – (see 2 Chronicles 34)

Kid Josiah became a king at the age of 8.

After celebrating his sweet 16, “he began to seek the Lord” (not daddy’s car and the best cheer-leader of his time).

From 16 to 20 he gains the wisdom and the guts to disturb the Israelites’ indulging in and celebrating gross sins for about 57 years, since Hezekiah’s reign. (Teenhood can be the age of opportunity, or the age of opposition.)

The 20 year-old King Josiah did the politically incorrect, but correct step- he smashed Israel’s idols.

In his zeal, he went the extra mile and he not only smashed the idols. He broke them into pieces and took the trouble to pepper them over the graves of those who sacrificed to these idols.

Like a good commercial… “But, wait. There’s more!”

After dusting the graves with idol-debris, he took from the graves the bones of the priests and burned them on their altars. And then”he crushed the altars to powder”.

That’s going to a lot of trouble to root out sin from his culture. It’s radical. It’s offensive. It’s shocking. It’s time-and-energy consuming. What did God think about Josiah?

“Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” 2 Kings 23:25 NIV

There was much perversion in Josiah’s time, and so there is today. Throughout history, God takes notice and uses Christians with guts who resist to being acclimated to the cultural sins of their day.

Do we pet our culture’s sins, so we could excuse our own?

“Be in the world, but not of the world” is taking a back seat, while we summed up the 700,000 words of the Bible to thou shall love, and thou shall not judge as Matt Walsh hits the nail on the head in his book “Church of Cowards: A Wake-Up Call to Complacent Christians”.

The Mind of God is revealed to us so that the devil doesn’t outwit us, and that we’d be made aware of his schemes. (“‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Cor. 2:16 ESV)

Are we daily committed to be informed and transformed by the Scriptures? “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 ESV


? Do we feed with loyalty through Joyce Myers’ shallow messages, or Andy Stanley’s down-the-spiral theology, Francis Chan’s unity at any cost, Steven Furtick’s ear-tickling pep-talks, and Joel Osteen’s self-help best sellers?

? Are we gulping down Verse-Of-The-Day in our Bible app and are satisfied? (Why do I object to this?)

  • Because, every text needs a context, to not turn it into a pretext.
  • Because, this is undernourishment. It’s like feeding on Vitamin D alone, and not having a substantial meal.
  • Because, all believers around the world get the same Bible verse in their language. We are not invited to a picnic, but to a spiritual warfare. One out-of-context global verse for a billion of sins and struggles all Christians a globe face, that’s using a toothpick at a sword fight.
  • In times of grace like today, we ought to overeat spiritually, allowing that surplus of spiritual fat to keep us afloat in times of starvation and serious affliction. That’s how persecuted Richard Wurmbrand persevered while tortured for Christ for 14 years in the Romanian Communist prison, having no access to a Bible. Scripture memorisation was a priority.

? Or do we show more devotion to our devotionals? (Nothing wrong with devotional books. It creates consistency and many of them are solid, but it’s like chewing someone else’ chewed gum. We ought to read the Bible for ourselves. Anything above that is a bonus.)

My fellow- Christians, we live in a culture when “a bacteria on Mars is considered proof of life, when a heartbeat on earth isn’t”; when Matt Walsh has to write the book “What Is A Woman?” because we don’t know, or we don’t wanna define womanhood; when Geneva hosts first conference lead by A.I. (artificial intelligence) hoping that if robots took over the world “we are solving the problem of starvation and illnesses”; when man are pretending to be women, to share a locker room with the opposite sex; when the Bible is rewritten to fit our prosperity gospel and personal agendas (like the Passion “translation” etc.)…

These idols are hardly scratching the surface of the sins webbing every inch of our lives. How can we not have the same fervor Jesus had as the spiritual leaders of his day turned the Temple courts into a shopping mall? As He chased out the woolies, freed the winged creatures, and overturned the cashier desks. It’s then when “His disciples remembered that it is written: ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.‘” Quoting Psalm 69:9.

When push come to shove, we are all capable of fire-in-the-belly. What consumes our zeal? Talking about how wrong the vaccines were? Wishing a heart-attack on Trump, Hillary, or Biden? Talking about things that don’t even matter in the eyes of eternity?

This message was seen on the walls of the capital during the Romanian revolution “If not now, then when? If not me, then who?”

Lord, thank you for giving me best self-help advice “Repent!”. Help me daily to feast on Solo Scriptura. Help me gain spiritual weight to not be outwitted by the devil’s schemes. May I not turn a blind eye to my sin, nor today’s idols. May I watch out for the next generation too, by smashing today’s Asherah poles like young Josiah did. May the zeal for your house consume us. Fan into flame the fire in our belly for our heavenly tasks I pray. Amen!

Posted in Articles.