If you've ever gone camping (and I mean real camping, not just staying in your backyard), you'll know how important fire is, most especially in the evening. The first camping experience I ever had, I learned within a few hours into the evening just how important fire was to campers. We cook our food with it, keep warm with it, and use it to provide light. If you're a camper in the middle of the woods, the last thing you want to happen in the evening is for your fire to go out.
In one way or another, we believers are like campers in the dark in need of the light and warmth of a heart steadily on fire for God. 2 Timothy 4:6-7 says, "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 gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
For what reason is that? In this scripture, Paul speaks to the young Timothy with regards to guarding the deposit of the message of Christ.
If we want to sustain the hope made available through Christ, we need to keep that fire burning in us.
Here are four keys to keeping that fire for God burning passionately through the darkness that we walk through in our lifetime.
1. Stick to the basics
No matter how much of a veteran you think you are in the area of faith, no one ever outgrows the basics of God's Word and prayer. Psalm 119:105 tells us, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Through the seasons of life, communication with God is of vital importance to keeping that passion for Him burning. The primary way we communicate with God is through prayer and He also primarily speaks to us through His Word.
2. Remain in fellowship
A burning coal, when removed from a pile of red-hot coals, loses its fire when it sits alone. Christians also experience the same thing. That's why church community and fellowship are vital to our everyday walk. When we stay within accountability, encouragement, and discipleship that come through fellowship, we remain on fire for God.
3. Remember the joy of your salvation
When David felt his fire for God dying, which led to his immorality with Bathsheba, he cried out to God, saying, "Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit." (Psalm 51:11-12, emphasis added)
Do you remember the first time you received Jesus into your life and the exuberant joy that came right after? That joy was not meant to be a one-time deal. We can and should walk in it as often as we can.
4. Go back to your first love
Revelation 2:4 speaks of the first love that has been abandoned so many times. Our first love is and will always be Jesus. What keeps us focused on Christ as our first love is this great reminder that it was He who loved us first and our love for Him now comes simply as a response to the greatest love we will ever know.