I was watching my kids try to start and keep a fire going with a couple of sticks and a lot of leaves. Have you ever tried to keep the fire going with leaves? If you have, you know that it’s nearly impossible. It seems to work for a short time, but eventually it goes out. You can probably keep putting more leaves…and more leaves…and more leaves to keep it going short-term. However, it will not sustain itself for long periods of time. The trick, which isn’t really a trick, if you want to keep the fire going is, that you can use leaves to get it started, but you will eventually need firewood that will keep the flame going after the leaves have burned out.
As I enjoyed watching them run back and forth bringing more and more leaves to their small fire, it made me think of how we do the same thing with our spiritual lives. If you think about it, fire much like passion consumes our energy. We try to keep the flame of our spiritual life going with things that keep it burning temporarily but eventually burn out.
Running on fumes
We love the feeling of these emotional highs. So we keep adding spiritual “leaves” in the form of songs, worship services, or moral pep talks. But the reality is that we need something more than that. We need something with substance. We can only take these spiritual high and lows for so long. And the fear I have for you is that if you don’t change what you are doing, you will eventually get tired and walk away from your church or your faith.
Just like my kids, trying to keep this fire that never seems to be satisfied, eventually got tired and almost gave up.
What you need is spiritual “firewood”
Jesus said it this way in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” And we can see glimpses of how Jesus did this himself in Luke 5:16, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
You need communion with the father. Time with the father is the only thing that can sustain you. It is like an ember without a fire or a branch cut off from the tree. They are away from their source. In the same way, as Christians, we can move away from the source of our spiritual fire and nutrition. Without a constant renewing in the presence of God, we will fade away.
Time with the father shows that you depend on Him and not yourself. And the more you understand this, the more you will become intentional as Jesus did about getting away and spending time with Him. Your passion will be consistent because you will be consistently near the source of your passion. You will fill spiritually full because you will become consistently connected to your sources of life.
Why run on fumes, when you can stay connected to the source.