In my twenty years of being a preacher’s wife I’ve met all kinds of people who were at various stages of their Christian walk. Some had fizzled out and some had completely given up, but the people that made the most impact on my own walk were those who had been Christians for years and were as still on fire for God as the day they arose out of the baptistery. I’ve often wondered what keeps that zeal going strong in some, while it fizzles out in others. After all, we all desire to be strong for Christ at least one time in our lives. I am sure none of us as babes in Christ would have looked to the future and thought, “In 15 years I’m going to attend services once-in-awhile, and I’m going to only talk about God when I’m pressured to do so.”
Fortunately for us we can retain our zeal for Christ and his word, and if we have lost our Christian enthusiasm we can get it back. Here are a few tips to help you light the fire in your soul.
Pray. We will never find ourselves in a situation so tough that we can’t fall on our knees. For a moment consider the prophet Elijah as recorded in I Kings 18. He found himself a lone prophet of God in the midst of 450 prophets of Baal. Elijah had grown tired of the people of Israel straddling the fence between Jehovah and Baal, so he challenged them to choose who they would serve. In a magnificent showdown between the prophets of Baal and the prophet of God, God showed his power. He consumed wood on an altar that had been soaked with water with a fire so fierce that it consumed the stones, the dust and the water in the trench around the altar (vs. 37-38).
While God does not act miraculously today to answer our requests, he does answer our prayers. The book of James teaches us that if we humble ourselves in the sight of God, he will lift us up (James 4:10). If we draw near to God, he will draw near to us (vs.9), and if we ask God for what we need, he will provide (vs.3; James 5:13). Christ even stated that God knows the needs of his people, and God will give to us abundantly (Matthew 7:7-11). To get on fire for God we must pray!
Study. Our society isn’t really big on study. We love little bits of information that we gather in passing. One of my author friends once stated that she believes we live in a meme religion based society. I worry that she may be right, but to set ourselves on fire for God we have to get past this obstacle and dive deep into the word. The apostle Paul states, that we must “study to show ourselves approved unto God” (II Timothy 2:15). We develop a relationship with the Bible when we really get into the word, and we learn things that we may have never realized through deeper study.
For a moment imagine a tornado is barreling down on you. Your family, your animals, and your friends are all safe, but in that moment before you climb into the tornado shelter you have the opportunity to choose one thing that you can take with you – one thing that would not be utterly destroyed. What would you choose? Would you choose your personal Bible, the one with all the notes and underlines? If not, why not? God’s word must be precious to us, and to grow on fire for God we must study!
Love. To grow on fire for God we must learn the true concept of love (I Corinthians 13). Love is so much more than a fluttering heart and raging hormones. Love is having true compassion for those around us. Love is what moved God to offer sacrifice for Adam and Eve in the Garden even when they rejected him. It is what compelled him to send his son to save the lost and dying of this world. Love is what held Jesus to the cross, and love is what drives us to teach those around us. Our love must be strong enough that we will recognize the needs of those around us and we will do our best to reach out and fill them. We will be on fire for God if we truly know love.
Work. Our zeal for God will grow when we work for him. We must remember that everything we do has an expiration date. We are not promised tomorrow. Reality Check –what we do for God today may be all that we will ever have the opportunity to do for him. We must get excited for God today (James 4:13-15).
[Tweet “While we breathe we have time. We can turn from a life of lukewarmness to a life full of zeal.”]
The great thing is that while we breathe we have time. We can turn from a life of lukewarmness, and wandering to a life full of zeal. All we have to do is to determine that we will. It is up to you and it is up to me. If you’re already on fire for God; great! Today I want to challenge you to grow your zeal no matter the state you’re in. You can do it!
By Susan Elliott
Susan Elliott is a 1996 graduate of the Memphis School of Preaching Student Wives Program. She owns and operates the Church of Christ Women Authors Blog and YouTube channel. Susan has multiple books for sale on Amazon, and her latest is Will You Be My Friend? Growing Friends Within the Church. She currently resides in Roanoke, VA, where she and her husband work with the Star City congregation.