I used to look at life so much differently than I do now. I used to think the wedding day was the height of beauty, intimacy and excitement in a marriage. I used to believe the fire of a new believer was greater than the fire of the aged follower of Christ. I used to think with time one could not help but let one’s passion for Christ slowly become a very nominal, run of the mill, boring, Christian-social-club, platonic faith. It was what I saw in those around me. I used to think it was so sad that my faith was destined to become so dull and boring.
And really much of culture fed into it. High school and college were looked back on as glory days. The drudgery of responsibility and work were endured. The passionate fire of a new believer inspired the veteran believers around me to sagely observe that someday they would mellow out too. The fire would go away.
I am so grateful it wasn’t a true story. The intimacy in my relationship with Christ has grown ever deeper. My fire burns stronger now than it ever has. In fact when I look back at even the first days after I was saved, I don’t long for them or envy the passion I had for Christ. Instead I smile a little at how little that young woman knew about what love and passion were.
The more I follow Him, the less I understand about why I would quit. I shudder at the thought of how meaningless my life would become if the next time when He invited me into deeper relationship with Him, I shook my head no and instead chose to indulge in pursuing my own selfish desires. Should I ever choose a career, an illicit romance, my pet gossiping buddy, maintaining my own good reputation or anything else over following Jesus, my faith would instantly be on its way to social-club boredom.
I don’t want my fire to die. I want it to burn ever hotter until death parts me from this mortal body. May my fire for Him when I am on my deathbed be 10,000 times greater than it is today.
Lately the Apostle Paul has been encouraging me to endure. Every time I meditate on Romans 12, the following verse resonates in my heart with special strength:
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
It gives me hope that it is indeed possible for me to never end up in a place in my walk with God where I look at a new follower and in condescending self-defense think, “Someday your fire will also go out. Someday you will become like me: bored with Jesus. Just wait.”
I want to live like Paul did with passion burning to his very last breath. I want my relationship with God to continually deepen until like an old couple rocking on their front porch in the morning breeze, we know that our love may look slightly less exciting than that of our teenage romance but in truth it has been tested by time and deepened infinitely by years of sacrificial giving. How little they knew on their wedding day about the depth of intimacy they could experience with their lover!
But my analogy is not that great. My relationship with God is different because He already knows me completely. When I get to heaven, there won’t be any surprises for Him. It is but my knowledge of Him and my experience of intimacy with Him that will continually deepen as we continue life together.
And I am not sure my analogy holds water at all because it implies the faith of the mature believer looks less exciting than that of the new. In fact, when I look at the mature believers around me, they are the people everyone wants to become like. They carry themselves with grace and joy. They lay down their lives in constant sacrifice. Theirs is a most appealing zeal.
But I don’t have to continue to be zealous. The next time God asks me to give up an idol, I could say no. I could choose not to go deeper. I could tell Him I don’t want to work through anymore of my selfishness. I don’t want to face anymore disappointment in my relationships on earth. Instead I want to feel good. I could choose the route of chasing positive emotion. I could pursue more money, more codependent relationships or simply mindlessly pass my time in front of the TV.
There are so many options if I don’t choose Jesus, but may I forever choose to go deeper in faith with Him instead.
How is your zeal lately? Are you in a spiritual slump, or are you courageously taking your next step of faith?