I remember the night I re-dedicated my life to Christ as a teenager. I was so passionate about Jesus. I was determined to stay the course and live for Him without regret. I did just that…until my “fire” was dampened by life. My heart was broken. SPLASH. I felt alone. SPLASH. I didn’t get the scholarship I wanted for college when I wanted it. SPLASH. My dating life was lacking. SPLASH. I learned of friends and loved ones betrayal and faults. SPLASH. Hurt caused me to become judgmental. I didn’t want to forgive, so I didn’t. I was convicted by the Word in church every week, but not convicted enough to change. I found that guys liked good girls, but NOT actively celibate women...that's "too good". I found that everybody doesn't love Jesus like I do, and some won't like me for loving Him. Splash, splash, SPLASH. By now, my budding fire was a little flame. I never completely let my fire go out, but it definitely stopped shining bright. One blow of the wind and it’s gone!
It took these events and others for me to realize, sometimes it’s not that God is mad at you or that you’re being punished; but EVERYONE – saved or not - has to experience LIFE. Trials will ALWAYS come and go. Opposition will always exist. Holy will never be popular, but it will always be required by our Savior. We can’t give situations and people the power to dwindle our fire. This is where knowing God’s Word and being equipped with His wisdom and power come in. When someone or something threatens your fire - FIGHT BACK. Christians are not weak, uninformed, gullible beings as the world portrays us to be. We have the greatest weapon of all time – Christ.
Now, looking back, I’m embarrassed to admit that I gave such small things the power to put my fire out. Today, I’m rekindling my fire for Christ, His Word, and His people. I’m not backing down for my belief in Jesus. I’m not ashamed of the Gospel. I’m not letting my sister fall or stay down. I’m not allowing offense to keep me away from the people of God. I’m not allowing tests and mishaps to shake my faith or dampen my fire. Join me and shine bright, sis!
I remember when I first joined the track team in 10th grade. I had been fortunate enough to be on varsity and was one of the school’s faster sprinters. My first race was in Batesville, our rivals, with 3 seniors in the 4X1. All training we endured led up towards the big race against them. However, grades had been released two days before the race and unfortunately many of our members had been disqualified, including many of our distance runners. When coach had explained the situation on the bus ride to Batesville, he proceeded to tell us that we would be penalized because we had no one to cover a big distance event. Being new, and high on adrenaline I quickly volunteered to run a two-mile race that I had NEVER trained for. Mentally, I thought it would be like any other race I ran; I was fast, swift, and agile. I couldn’t lose. As the event approached, I felt very confident due to me placing in all of my other events that I had trained for.
As I prepared to run this two-mile race, it never hit me that Monique, you are a sprinter. Your race is normally over in a matter of seconds. Distance runners prepare to run minutes. All I could think of was, ‘run’! As soon as the gun sounded I was off like a speeding bullet. Ecstatic that I was in the lead, I finished the first lap of the race with no problem I was a full lap ahead of everyone, but that quickly changed. My endurance began to diminish and so did my energy. Everyone seemed to be surpassing me and gained some magical energy boost from God knows where. That’s when my desire to finish began to dwindle and eventually I was in last place.
That’s sometime how it is once we decide to give our lives to Christ. We start of on FIRE and ready to do whatever it takes to prove that we can win the race. We volunteer at every church function, we attend every service held, and we feel the need to prove our salvation by joining multiple auxiliaries all to verify that we can endure the race. But then we look around at the seasoned (trained and prepared) Christians and begin to compare our walk to theirs. Initially, we seem to be doing MORE than everyone around us, but when we view the lives of Christians around us who have been walking with Christ a little longer, it seems as if we are always stumbling and losing our way while they seem perfect and appear to be able to maintain the endurance of a lion. Before you know it, we are backing off. That large fire we once had had is a mere flicker. No longer are we volunteering first, no longer do we crave to be alone with Christ as much, no longer are we as involved. Our flame has been dimmed…
As I looked back on that race, every single person had crossed the finish line before me. I remember how I was about to just walk of the track. As my speed digressed, my coach and team members ran to where I was on the sidelines and said “C’mon Moe, you HAVE to finish! We may lose points but if you don’t finish at all we can be disqualified as a team. You can do this!”
When our flame dims, we tend to have thoughts of giving up on our walk completely. We feel like we can never get it right. But we forget that those seasoned Christians TRAINED for this. No one walk is perfect and we must quit comparing what part we play in the kingdom to the roles of others. God called us ALL for OUR specific purpose. When we let that flame dwindle we must realize that it takes a prayer life, daily intimacy with Christ, and being surrounded by other ‘runners’ of this great race. Just as it took my team to help encourage me to keep running, I know that all of my sisters and brothers in Christ are cheering for me to finish this great race. If I quit now just because my energy is low and my excitement is gone, I have to think of all of the souls I could have won for God, or how many people are looking up to me…I have to keep running…and so do you! We must continue to rekindle the fire!
Here are some steps to get that fire reignited!
1. Acknowledge your feelings
3. Reflect on when your relationship was strong
4. Read God’s Word
5. Surround yourself with like-minded people who will encourage you to stay ignited
It happens to us all, but the sin is in remaining complacent! You can do this!