Have you ever had the opportunity to experience a raging fire? I mean a real scorcher. One that you can feel from far away. One that lights up everything around it. A fire so hot that you cannot stand by it for more than a few minutes or you feel like you will catch on fire too?
I feel like there are seasons in my life that I am like that fire. A raging inferno of Gods love. And then there are times where I feel like I am doing all I can to put that fire out. The Bible tells us over and over again that we are to love one another. Part of the greatest commandment Jesus says in Mark 12 is to "Love your neighbor as yourself." John 13:34-35 tells us “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 1 John 3:18 says "Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
What I have discovered about myself lately is that when my fire and passion for God is running low so does my tolerance and love for the people around me. I get short tempered, grumpy and just generally miserable to be around. My love for what God has called me to do disappears. My creativity starts running dry and I quit really caring about what I do. I do enough to get by and just trudge through my day focused on myself.
If you have been with us at any event, you have probably heard me talk about St. Francis of Assisi and his quote which inspired our song 'Ablaze'. He said, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words." It took us about 3 years to write that song and I talk about it all the time, but recently I have re-discovered the meaning of this song. I originally wrote it about living your life in such a way that everyone you come in contact with knows that you are a Christ-follower, but I am realizing it goes much deeper than that. If we are truly passionate about God and want to live our lives as worship, we should be loving at all times, even when we don't feel like it. Love isn't a warm fuzzy, chocolate filled feeling, it is a choice. If I am focusing on myself and the things I want, then I am not sharing Gods love. My fire and passion for God is being squelched by my selfishness. But if I look to God to satisfy my needs and fill up on His love, then that love will pour out of me to everyone I come in contact with, which is what Jesus is saying in the scriptures listed above. It is also what St. Francis is saying in his statement. The passion for life, love and what God has called me to do is very easily found when I am focused on Him and His love. That is where this song has taken on new meaning for me. If I am passionate about God and His love for me then I will be more loving to the people around me.
I would love for you to listen to this song and make it your prayer this week. Focus on Gods love and seek out ways to share it. Loving God and loving others...That is what He calls us to! Set my heart Ablaze!