As I was flipping through the channels one evening, I noticed a choir that was singing and their robes were the prettiest shade of red. They were really getting into the singing; they were feeling what they were singing. I turned the volume up and the choir was singing a song that I love to hear. I got up from my sofa and began singing along with them and swaying to the music.
I enjoyed this song by Andrae’ Crouch when I was a young Christian and still benefit from the thoughtful lyrics that are just as relevant today. “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 5: 1-7).
The words to this song are, “Take me back, take me back dear Lord. To the place where I first received You. Take me back, take me back dear Lord, where I first believed. I feel that I’m so far from You Lord. But still I hear You calling me. Those simple things that I once knew. The memories are drawing me. And I must confess, Lord, I’ve been blessed. But yet my soul’s not satisfied. Renew my faith, restore my joy, and dry my weeping eyes. I tried so hard, to make it all alone. I need Your help, just to make it home.”
This song is about someone who has let the fire go out in their relationship with Jesus. Is your love for God still fresh, like the day you prayed to receive Christ as your personal Savior? Or, have you become casual in your relationship with Him? Do you remember how you felt when Jesus saved you? Quite often people will find something they had rather do instead of going to church. Reading the Bible, praying and telling others about Jesus just don’t thrill you anymore. Perhaps you had rather be left alone to do as you please and serve God on your own terms. It’s sad but many believers are in that shape today! Sad spelled backwards is das, and das not good. On Wednesday nights are you at Bible Study. On Sunday mornings are you there for worship service? During worship service silence reigns and deadness dominates. Dust gathers on altars where tears used to flow freely. Do you worship God with “praise on your lips” and your hands lifted to give Him Glory? Or do you sit quietly and refrain from glorifying our God who is awesome and can do exceeding abundantly above “all” that we could ever ask or imagine?
When I was much younger, my Dad and I would spend a lot of time down by the creek. The water would flow and it was so cool and crystal clear. We were building a road to go further into the area around the creek and we would build a tee pee and quite often we would have a campfire. My Dad taught me to blow on the embers to get a fire going, and especially to restart the smoldering embers of wood the next day when we would go back to work on our project of building the road. As I blew the embers to get a fire going, then I would fan the flame by taking a long stick and stir up the fire increasing the oxygen that fed the fire turning it into a blazing fire. Clarence Jordon translates 2 Timothy 1: 5-7, “I’m reminding you to shake the ashes off the God-given fire that’s in you.”
The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to build the fire of faith in our hearts. On the day Jesus rose from the dead He walked on the road to Emmaus with two disciples. After their eyes were “opened” they recognized who Jesus was and then He disappeared. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32). A roaring fire emblazoned their hearts when they understood what Jesus taught them in the Scriptures.
Paul is urging Timothy to a necessary spiritual discipline. In the course of life the fire can burn down a bit or at times a lot. We need to continually be mindful of this and keep fanning into flame the gift of God. Elsewhere Paul writes in Holy Scripture, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). The phrase “spiritual fervor” literally means “in spirit burning.”
Keith Green wrote a song; “Oh Lord please light the fire, that once burned bright and clear. Replace the lamp of my first love, that burned with holy fear.”Perhaps some of you had a good beginning with the Lord. You were saved by grace and you started out right. But, somewhere along the way, things went wrong in your walk with the Lord. You find yourself in a place today that you never envisioned. Well, my brother, my sister, God is calling you back today.
He wants you to know that He is the God of second chances. He is the God Who allows U-turns. He is the God Who loves you in spite of where your path in life may have taken you. Allow God to speak to your heart today Let’s take it back. Think back to where the Lord found you and what He did for you when He saved you by grace. Remember, and realize that He deserves better than H is getting from most believers. When we wander away from God, He tells us to come back. Thank God, He will receive us and He will restore us. When we return to Him in humble repentance, He will return to us. Worship God by humbling yourself before Him. Dedicate your life to the Lord. He wants to be your “first love.” God is calling His people back to the place where our souls are aflame with love for Him. Remember the days when just the mention of His name was enough to bring tears to your eyes? Remember the days when “Amazing Grace” made you want to shout? This is where the Lord wants to bring you back to. Rebuild the altars of worship and serve Him faithfully!
Those who are saved by grace are saved forever! You can never be removed from the Lord’s family. (Now that is something to shout about!) But you can count on this: if you choose to walk away from God, and you refuse to return to Him, you will face His chastisement in your life! That is His Word; that is His promise — (Revelation 3:19; Hebrews 12:5-11).
Whatever the need, you can rest assured that the supply will be found in Jesus! If you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior. You know you need to be saved. Well, that can happen today, if you will come to Him and get what you need from God.
Maybe it is time to rekindle the fire that once burned so brightly in your life to remember just how magnificent your salvation is and how great our God is.
It is my prayer that you will want to serve the Lord with renewed zeal and keep the fire burning within your hearts so that you are continually on fire for Christ. I appreciate the sentiment in Andrae’s Crouch’s song that states; “Renew my faith, restore my joy.” I urge you to make that same appeal!
Milley Brewington is a guest columnist for The Sampson Independent.