My husband and I love to camp. We enjoy seeing new places and have met a lot of wonderful people. One night, we were sitting around the campfire when God spoke to me. As I looked at the fire, I realized the only way the fire keeps burning is if my husband puts more wood on it. When he stops putting wood on the fire, it eventually burns down. When he adds more wood, it begins to burn and we can see the flames once again. Pretty simple concept, huh?
I began to think about faith and the Christian walk and how it relates to fire. When we first become Christians, we are like the fire with flames shooting up. We are excited and we want to share with everyone. We are on fire for the Lord! Sometimes it is hard to contain us; we want to go in a million different directions. We have lots of thoughts and ideas to share with others. We want them to know about our love for Christ and His love for us. We are eager to read our Bibles, we want to pray, we want to witness, and we go on and on. As time passes, we begin to slow down. If we are not careful, we begin to burn out. We decide to slow down. We forget one day to read the Bible, or we forget to say our prayers. Or maybe we have a chance to share our witness and don’t. Our fire begins to slowly burn down. Then one day, we suddenly realize our fire for the Lord is now just an ember. How did it get that way? What happened? How do we once again get on fire for the Lord?
Sometimes we have to stoke the fire and then begin to add wood to the fire. How do we do that in our Christian walk? We do that by learning to set priorities. We need to look to see what has prevented us from taking the time to read our Bible or pray. We have to figure out what is more important in our lives. Yes, families are important, but it is more important to stop and pray and read the Bible. We must put God first in our lives and our families second. I know this is a hard task to do. At one time, I realized God was second and my family was first. My fire was beginning to burn down. If we don’t put God first, and if we allow our families to run over us and constantly are taking time for them (and not for ourselves), then we will run out of steam. We become a machine doing things for them and no longer living for Christ. We do things automatically. We have to let our families know what is important in our lives. They need to know they are important, but they also need to realize God is first in our lives. They need to realize that if we take the time to read the Bible and pray it will help us be better parents. Having God on our team, we will be better equipped to handle the everyday happenings. If your family sees you praying and reading your Bible what better witness can you be for them? They will learn from you how to let God be first in their lives. They will realize how you and God are handling things. What a great impression to leave on your children or grandchildren.
Another way to add wood to a fire is to revive it. How do you revive your faith? Once a year or every couple of years, I think we need to look at attending a retreat; a time to get away from family. A time to sing praises, to share with others, to study His Word, a time to reflect and then a time to renew our own faith. We need a time to revive that fire. There are several retreats that are available. Ask your pastor or church secretary if they know of one. If one is not available, then get some of your peers together and go away and have your own retreat. Go somewhere that you can take some music to sing along with, take your Bibles to study from and then just be willing to open up to share with others. Nothing is more healing or refreshing than to hear from others how God is working in their lives. You will come back refreshed, and your fires will be burning once again.
Instead of letting your fire burn down to an ember, take time every day to maintain your fire. Add a little wood every day by reading your Bible, taking time to pray for others, and listening to God. Going to church is an excellent way to keep those fires burning, but not just one morning a week. We need that midweek service or that Bible study to help us keep the fires burning. Here is an idea: How about having a prayer partner to keep us accountable and to help us through the rough times and even to share the good times with.
As I sit and watch my husband while we camp, I see that he is constantly keeping the fire burning. He is poking, adding wood, or just keeping an eye out for when it begins to die down. That is the way it should be with our faith. We should be constantly working on our faith. We need to maintain our faith daily. We should be busy keeping our faith on fire for the Lord. We should never let our faith become just an ember. It says in Matthew 5:14-16:
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp
is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see,
so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
If our fire for the Lord is nothing but embers, how will others see our light? If you get a chance this fall to sit around a campfire, reflect on your own fire. How are you doing at burning? Are you just an ember, or are you on fire for the Lord, or are you just slowly burning out? If you are burning out, start poking at the fire and begin adding wood. Don’t be just an ember.
“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Prayer: Dear Lord, as we study your Word, pray, and go to church, it is our desire to keep the fire burning. It is hard sometimes to keep the fire from burning out. You have given us hope. We know if we trust you, you will renew our strength and our fire once again will burn brightly. We want to soar like eagles, we want to run and not grow weary, but it is only with your strength that we can do that. Help us not to trust in our own strength, but in yours. We thank you for your love, your grace, and your mercy. We give you all the honor and glory as we once again renew our faith in you. Thank you also for creating in us a clean heart and renewing our spirit. In all these things we ask in your name. Amen.