Luke 24:32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” – ESV
Two of the disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus when Jesus appeared to them. They didn’t recognize His physical appearance, but after He left them, they recognized Him in retrospect because their hearts had burned within them in His presence.
Do Our Hearts Burn?
Do our hearts burn within us? Occasionally? Often? Never? When we enter into the presence of God through the Holy Spirit, His fire burns within us in a way that we can literally sense and feel. For me there are seasons when there is more of this than others. At times God is pleased to allow me to experience His presence in overwhelming ways for long stretches.
Other times—in times of testing—He allows His felt presence to be removed or to become more distant. These are the times when His fire is burning the chaff away. It doesn’t feel good, but I am in it for the long term results. And I find that no matter which of these seasons I’m in, the key is, to always be hungering for His presence. As long as we do not grow cold during the times of testing, but rather use those times to seek Him more desperately, then I believe His purpose in testing us becomes validated and worthwhile. He will reward us abundantly at the end of such testing with comfort in His presence.
All of us who have Jesus in our hearts have the privilege of entering into God’s presence. But there is another level of God’s presence and it can be accessed through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
My Own Experience
About six months after I repented and was born again, I was praying in my bedroom one night. I felt I had not completely allowed God into every area of my life. So I began to list off to God the places I went to on a daily and weekly basis and invited Him to be with me in all those places. It was a moment of deeper surrender and inviting God into every area of my life. When I was in the middle of this, I felt something hot travel down my chest and explode in my stomach area. It was the fire of the Holy Spirit. I had no idea there was a name for it at the time, as I was a very immature and uneducated believer.
In the days that followed, the fire welled up within me from time to time and I received revelation about the things of God on a level I never had before. Since that time, His fire has been at work in me. Alternately infusing me with power, and burning the chaff out of my life. There were times I’d grown cold in the faith, and had practically forgotten I’d received that baptism of fire. But that seed in me refused to be neglected. God has salvaged me from many dangerous places and I believe He was being faithful to the Holy Spirit within me.
Are You Ready To Walk In His Presence?
What about you? Do you experience God’s presence? Do you hunger for it? Does your heart burn within you? If not ask Him for His presence. Ask Him to baptize you with His Holy Ghost Fire. The journey isn’t all fun and fuzzy, but it is a satisfying journey in which we find Him faithful and true. He is so willing to make our hearts burn within us in His presence as He did for those disciples 2000 years ago.