Reclaiming Your Spiritual Passion
Are you satisfied with your spiritual passion for God and your relationship with Him? Have you ever wondered why does your spiritual passion fade so easily? When we first experience God’s love, we spend hours thinking about Him and studying His Word. So, what do you need to change so that He remains your primary focus in life?
The story of the people of Israel during the reign of the Judges typifies the undulating, rising-and-falling spiritual state of many believers today. From the yearning for self-acceptance and admiration, to the raving quest for knowledge and information, today’s Christians have several things jostling for their attention and desires.
Like the Israelites of old, the problems of divided devotion to God (in times of difficulties) and romance with pleasurable sin lie firmly at the root of our spiritual doldrums.
The Ever-Burning Fire
“The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.” Lev 6:12-13 (NIV)
God, in giving instructions to Moses for the Old Covenant, was, at the same time, pointing us to a time in the New Covenant. A shadow of what is to come in Christ Jesus, who is the mediator of the New Covenant.
Let us take a cursory look at key parts of this important instruction given to Moses, and how it applies to believers in this dispensation.
“The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out…”
The first thing we see here is that the fire be kept burning. God intends that our passion and love for him be nurtured endlessly. Our passion for God, demonstrated in obedience, consecration, worship and service, should not wane in its intensity.
The Christian’s passion – thirst, hunger, love, desire – for God should continually consume every other interest. It should burn out every self-focused admiration and ambition. It should consume all that inhibit God’s love in our hearts.
God wants our spiritual passions to devour every self-promoting desire. The instruction that was given to Moses thousands of years ago still holds true for us today. Our fire – passion, love, hunger, thirst for – God must be kept burning.
Our Spiritual Reality
How do we really develop a spiritual passion for God ? Though it is God’s plan that we are continually spiritually alive to Him, our reality is everything short of this. We are not always on fire, burning with this holy fervor for God.
Many times we are spiritually weary and exhausted. Believers, on many occasions, are held bound in the valley of self-gratifying desires. How do we come out of here? How does this reality of always-on-fire-for-God become our spiritual reality?
In addressing this problem God told Moses:
“Every morning the priest is to add firewood”
One of the devils greatest devices is to tempt Christians to lose their passion for serving God. The devil will try to deceive you, deaden you or devour you and if none of these work he will settle for discouraging you.
So, what does it mean for us in the dispensation of the New Covenant, to add firewood to the fire? Paul’s instruction to the Church of Ephesus comes very helpful for us who desire to reclaim our spiritual passion and keep our passions aflame for God. Here’s what Paul said:
“10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11, ESV)
To be strong in the Lord is to depend on God – His nature, power, word – to withstand the arrows of Satan. It is counting on God’s power through our spiritual disciplines of prayer, study of God’s word, meditation, faith, and obedience.
It’s is relying on the Holy Spirit to daily deal a death blow to the flesh and its activities in our lives.
Faith in God (a God-focused faith) is key to reliving our spiritual passion. Faith that is anchored on the infallibility of God – His Character, authority, power, word – is a fuel for our spiritual passion. It is the wood that burns our fire.
“…and arrange the burnt offerings on it.”
As in Paul’s admonition in Romans chapter 12:1, we must offer the parts of our bodies as living sacrifice, whose sinful desires are being consumed by the Holy Spirit.
In consequence, our spiritual passion is strengthened and made alive again. Then our spiritual passion produces good works with sweet aroma, pleasing to the Lord.
Jesus Christ didn’t mince words while discussing this matter: “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23, ESV)
Let him deny himself
A burning spiritual passion has at its root – denying self of its gratifications. We must deny ourselves of activities that empower the sinful nature.
And take up his cross daily
The cross is a symbol of death, but for the Christian it is both a symbol of death and victory – death to power of the sinful nature and victory for the Christian over sin. To carry the cross daily is allowing the death-dealing power of the cross over the sinful nature.
And follow me
Following Jesus is a never-ending duty of every believer who desires an ever-burning spiritual passion. We follow Jesus when we model our lives – thoughts, works, actions, and decisions – after Him (as revealed in His Word).
A man or woman who follows Jesus has the biblical worldview. Christ is ultimate in all decisions not any human.
Recover Your Spiritual Passion
As we do all these, we must continually be examining ourselves in God’s light. The psalmist, David, prayed this important prayer in Psalm 139:23-24
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
In clearer terms, this implies being vulnerable and open before God. Paul, in a similar fashion, admonishes us, saying “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves.”
Following Jesus is a matter of faith (in God) from start to finish – including our spiritual passion. Faith, which produces obedient works, opens us up to the ocean of God’s grace, and thus keeps us perpetually passionate for Him.
Our appetite for God is whetted. Our hope strengthened. And our gaze fixated on the One who matters. These principles, when practiced in a God-dependent relationship, offers us a leeway out of our lethargic spiritual state.
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