Fanning the Flames of Passion for God

The previous article in this series on Neglecting our Mission Field talked about how we are ignoring our mission field and focusing on entertaining ourselves and living a life of comfort due to the fact that we do not have an understanding of how much God loves us and we do not love Him as we should in return.

Colored campfire
Colored campfire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have another problem as humans.  We are like camp fires.  If a camp fire is left alone it will eventually burn itself out to where it is nothing but smoldering ashes.  We need constant attention and constant fuel to keep the fire strong.

This is why reading the Bible on a daily basis is crucial to our walk.  As well as praying, going to church to fellowship with other Christians, listening to sermons, and even reading articles that encourage us online.

I have fallen into this cycle many, many times with God, as well as with my wife.  I notice there are times when I just feel so much love for my wife that I want to do absolutely anything for her. I want to please her and make her happy, and I want to give her everything she deserves.  Then there are other times where I start to focus on myself more.

I have found that it is really difficult to focus on yourself and on anybody else at the same time. When I am focused on what I want I start to put my own desires over those of my wife’s.  It is not that I am mean or abusive to her or anything like that, I just don’t treat her with the love and attention she deserves.  I forget to go open the door for her or I get frustrated when asked to do something that gets in the way of what I want to do.  The more selfish I get during that time the less I focus on her, or on God.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. – Galatians 5:16-17

Then I just have to stop and think, to remind myself how much she loves me.  To remind myself about the commitment that I made to her, that when I married her I made her holy to me and set her apart from anybody else, including myself! She is the one that I will adore and give all of myself to.  I need to find those things that fan the flames of passion and love for my wife or for God, and commit to do them.

And it is the same way for a Christian’s relationship with Christ.  We sin and stumble so we do not always have a perfect relationship with Him despite the fact that He is perfect to us.  But then we remember how much He loves us and that we committed to make Him holy and set apart in our lives, to make Him our Lord and master.  And it is that love that drives us to not care about ourselves, to not care about our wants but to follow and worship Jesus and to love what He loves, which includes His mission.

When we have that love, we can’t help but love others more than ourselves.

When we realize that love, we can’t help but want to give away our stuff to help others and to spend our money helping others rather than spending it on ourselves.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

But how do we fan the flames of our relationship with God?  The absolute biggest way is to spend time with Him.  Read the Bible, pray, focus your thoughts and attention on Him.

Want a crazy thought to show us how much Jesus loves us?  Ask yourself this, how much does God love Jesus?  Do you think it is a lot?  A whole lot?

Of course it is a lot!  But then Jesus says

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you – John 15:9

That is crazy! Jesus, the one who is perfect and Holy and who knows me and every wicked, sinful, evil thing I ever did or ever will do, He  loves you as much as God loves Him?

Do you believe that?

If you do, that is awesome.

If you don’t, if you are like me and struggle with believing the fact that God loves you completely and fully this very moment, then do not fear.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will show you this love that “surpasses all knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19).

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen – Ephesians 3:20-21

Lots of ways to get involved

ETM has been a great hit so far, thanks to you, our readers. But some of you are not satisfied with just being a reader, you want to do more. For that reason I wanted to take a few minutes to explain some of the ways that you could get plugged into ETM, as well as some of the changes we have made recently.

New Look

As you have probably noticed the website and forums have had a complete makeover. We feel that these changes make the website easier to navigate and read and improves the overall experience of our users. We have future plans to make navigation even easier for mobile users. You can expect those changes to roll out sometime over the next month.

Podcast

ETM now has a podcast! We find great sermons all over the web and we podcast the best of the best.  The sermons include great teachers such as Francis Chan and Leonard Ravenhill, as well as other great speakers. We hope that these sermons help encourage you in your faith to become a closer disciple of Christ and encourage you to live like Jesus lived. The podcast has a different feed URL than the normal blog, meaning if you subscribe to our RSS feed or get the articles delivered via email then you will need to subscribe to this separately or else you will miss them. Most audio programs can handle podcast subscriptions easily, such as Windows Media Player or iTunes.  All of the information you need, as well as a list of podcast speakers, is available on our podcast page.

Business Cards

The primary means of advertising that we use at ETM is word of mouth. One of the best ways to do that in-person is with business cards. ETM is currently in the process of finalizing a design for business cards. Once I have them ordered I will sell them in packs of 25 or 50 to anybody who wants some. (The price will be at cost, we are not going to make a profit from this.)

Share our Articles

If one of our articles speaks to you please consider leaving a comment to tell us how it spoke to you and share the article with your friends. There are several buttons on the bottom of each article to allow you to share in any way you like to. Email, Facebook, Twitter, and Stumble Upon, as well as other services, are all one click away from you sharing the article with your friends. As I mentioned earlier, our best form of advertising is word of mouth, and that is easily accomplished by each of you who clicks a share link under the article. We do greatly appreciate it.

Online Bible Study

Every other Monday we have an online Bible Study with members of Carriers of the Cross, our sister ministry which is a Christian World of Warcraft guild. You are welcome to join us, just visit our Bible Study page to find all of the information you need to connect.  We also add most of these studies to the ETM Podcast mentioned above.

Online Prayer Meeting

Prayer is to a ministry as water is to life. We recognize that without prayer all we are doing here is waisting our time doing the work of man with man’s power. Our goal in this ministry is to be servants of God. This is His ministry, not our own. It only makes since then that we seek the Lord’s will in everything we do. The ETM staff has a semi-monthly prayer meeting, which we have opened up to anybody who would like to join us. All of the information needed can be found on the Prayer Meeting page.

Once again we thank you for taking the time to read our weekly articles and we pray that God has used them to bless your spiritual walk in some way.  Please continue reading and consider getting involved in one of the ways mentioned above or remember us in prayer each week.

Jon