Are you more passionate for Jesus today than you were six months ago?
One of the most discouraging observations that I’ve discovered is to find people who over time have lost their passion for Jesus. When they first came to Christ people would describe them as being on fire, but time and circumstances seemed to have squelched their flames. The Bible, however, paints a picture of sustainability. Psalm 1:2 speaks of someone who delights in the law of God; literally, they take pleasure in the Word of the Lord to the point that they meditate on it day and night. The result is, “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:3). Note the Psalmist said, “the leaf does not wither.” How many believers over the course of time spiritually wither? Another passage says, “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, he will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green” (Psalm 92:12-14). Fruit bearing never has to end according to this passage. We are to be spiritually healthy and vibrant all of our lives.
Still, another passage says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by the stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8). This passage describes a person who never stops producing fruit; they are always green, which is a metaphor for being spiritually healthy. In fact, the person described in Jeremiah is so spiritually healthy that adversity doesn’t produce fear or anxiety. These passages are setting the standard for spiritual sustainability. There are too many Christians who are characteristically unstable; marked by zeal one day but later they fizzle out.
The passage that really inspires me is found in Romans 12:9-13. It says, “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” I want to underscore this phrase: “Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit.” The NIV Bible says, “Never lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor.” The AMP Bible says, “Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; but aglow and burning with the Spirit.” Fervent (zeo) is defined as cooking, burning, boiling; on fire or always hot. This present tense verb describes a believer who is always spiritually hot and full of enthusiasm. As Christians we are to always be on fire! Little wonder, then, that the Lord will spit “lukewarm believers” from His mouth (see Rev. 3:16).
Being on fire is much more than merely being emotionally charged. It has everything to do with your intensity and devotion for Christ. When you’re on fire your greatest love, your deepest passion, and your highest affection is Jesus and His manifest presence. Worship is not a mundane, apathetic event; you live to worship the Lord. The Word is consumed with an insatiable desire and the love of God spills lavishly from your life. If you’re going to remain on fire for God, keep three things in mind. First, staying on fire has little to do with how you feel. The righteous “shall live by faith” (Heb. 10:38), not by feelings. Don’t ride the waves of your emotions; they are great followers but terrible leaders. Staying on fire is a choice of your will not your emotions.
Second, staying on fire has little to do with others. Your relationship with God cannot be contingent upon others; otherwise, you will become dependent upon people to sustain your spiritual vibrancy and not the Holy Spirit. You have to cultivate your passion in the secret place with God; you must discover Him for yourself in the chamber room. I’m not advocating Christian isolation. But, while people can encourage you and spur you on, intimacy with Jesus is forged when you decide that Christ and Christ alone is all you need. King David’s men spoke of stoning him because they were so embittered, but David “strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6). People will often fail you and sometimes hurt you, but you’ve been given the Holy Spirit to strengthen yourself.
Third, staying on fire has little to do with results. If you measure your spiritual vibrancy by results you will be quickly misled. Miracles, manifestations, success, failure, great gain or great loss should not hinder or enhance your fire for God. Keep your eyes on Jesus and not results. I’ve left meetings where almost everyone in the room was touched and healed, and I’ve left other services where it seemed as if very few people were touched. Leave the results to Jesus, just keep pressing into Him.
My prayer for you and me is that we will cultivate spiritual sustainability in our lives. I’m praying that we will always stay on fire for God.
God, fill me afresh with your Holy Spirit. Fan the flames of my heart and stir up my passion for you, Jesus, in your name, amen