I’ve seen a dozen times. In fact, I’ve dealt with the same issue when I first came to Christ. Our church sent us (the youth group) to conferences featuring dynamic speakers and passionate worship. We came home changed and “on fire” for God. Several weeks later, though, the effect fizzled out. I became puzzled wondering why I didn’t feel the same as before. It seemed so easy to find God’s presence in those services. After awhile, I learned that conferences and retreats are an easy way to encounter God, because the mood is already set (lighting, music, speakers, isolation from distractions). Although I’m grateful for these getaways of renewal and spiritual growth, easy doesn’t always last. When I get home from an amazing conference, I have bills to pay, a house to clean, a job to work, school to attend, etc. Basically, life is waiting at my doorstep. Where do I find God in the reality of my life? Further, how can I submerge into God’s presence with dated songs, pitchy singers, and fluorescent lighting? There must be a way to find God when the mood is all wrong. You may have seen this coming, but the answer has less to do with the outside and everything to do with the inside.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. –Jeremiah 29:13
Through clutter and confusing emotions, we must simply seek him. He promises in Jeremiah that we WILL find him IF we seek him with ALL of our heart. That is a promise. In other words, he never meant for our fire to fade. As Leviticus 6:9 says, we must keep our fire burning continually. Sin must be sacrificed. Distractions must be sacrificed. Thoughts must be held captive. Everything inside us must remain on the altar for him to purify and transform. I love this bridge from Hillsong United’s “Hosanna,”
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity
Take a minute and listen to the song, and see how it beautifully describes the process of sacrificing our hearts to God.
If you’ve had an encounter with God, don’t let your emotions dictate your devotion. The very nature of God (as seen in Hebrews 12:29) is that he is a “consuming fire.” If our fire is not burning bright enough, it can only mean that we are not growing closer to God. God cannot change, but our distance from him can. The closer we grow to him, the more consumed we are by him.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’ –Hebrews 12:28, 29
Below are just a few characteristics of fire. Analogy anyone?
1. Fire needs to be fed in order to spread.
2. Fire consumes waste; burns out impurities in gold and silver
3. Fire gives off heat; produces energy
4. Fire can start with something as small as a match
…let your light shine before men… –Matthew 5:16