I have been stirred in my prayer time lately. Recently, I had the opportunity to interact with brethren who are working for the Lord in various capacities. I have also completed the reading of several biographies and autobiographies of men and women who did great things for the Lord or were vessels for revival (or "inciters" of revival).
One thing that is evident about each individual that I have read about or interacted with is that they are/were moved by a deep and overwhelming passion for the Lord. Yet, that passion for God was the motivation to be an instrument on his behalf for those things for which they hunger to see God move.
A pastor once said, "If people don't know what your passion is, you probably don't have one."
I suppose that many of us congregate here at SermonIndex because we are of "like passions." We all long to see the face of God. We all hunger to know God in truth. We all long to see the Church "revive" with a similar hunger that we feel for a deep, intimate relationship with and honor of God. We all long for the people around us to become desperate for a friendship with God...wanting to know Him more than anything else in this world.
When I read of men and women who have a passion to know God (Philippians chapter 3 is one of my favorite passages), I am struck by how they kept their eyes upon Him when they attempted to accomplish what He prompted them to do. Whenever a minister faltered, it was often because they took their eyes off of the Lord and onto the things around them -- like Simon Peter looking at the sea.
The passion was still there...deep inside...but there was a distraction for a moment that threatened to derail the work of God or heart of a saint. For most believers, such instances were "wake up calls" which prompted those men/women of God to "shake themselves" and cry out to God out of the desperation of their souls. Then, after their eyes have turned back to the Lord and have felt the true comforting that only God can bring inside, they are able to once again carry out those things that the Lord has called them to do.
Unfortunately, there are others for which this is not the case. They take their eyes off of the Lord and "struggle" through such times in their own strength guided by what they once knew. Over time, their passion has become nothing more than a fading memory. It is real, but it grows dimmer as the days pass. Eventually, some lose their way as the flame in their heart flickers. And, sadly, some of those men continue to "work for God" (often as a profession) even though the condition of their heart has made them "needy" where it counts.
I know a missionary who once mentioned that he had a burden for ministers who have a fire that has been depleted. So many continue to work because it is an occupation for them. They become trapped in "providing for their family" through an "occupation," but -- deep inside -- they know or feel their light growing dim. Instead of speaking for a Lord that they know intimately, they speak of a Lord who has become (to them) a distant friend.
These are hurting inside (even if they are often unwilling to acknowledge or admit as much...even to themselves) and try to work for God using the hand of the flesh. Many have "lost their way" because they are following "good ideas" and not the steps that are ordained by God. In such instances, many ministers have fallen into sin -- including sins for which they consider "petty" or never suspect that they will get "caught."
Yet, this is a great indication that something must be done! If a minister feels that something is amiss, he needs to take time to get away from it all until his heart and spiritual eyes are focused upon God again and the passion of his heart is found only in knowing His heart while seeking His face.
My friend (the missionary) would like to open a small "ranch" (so to speak) where men of God (and their families) who are in need of a personal revival can step aside from their ministries in order to get alone with God for the refreshing that only God can bring. This missionary is aware that many "ministers" today are fulfilling a "vocation" in which they have little interaction or means to survive outside of the physical/monetary fruits of their ministry/congregations. This missionary would like to set up some small cabins for which hurting ministers can bring their families as a sort of "halfway house" until their fire is rekindled, intimacy restored and their calling confirmed. Other ministers could use it as a means to "get their house in order" when the times dictate. Personally, I think that it is a noble cause.
Men of God without a fire for him (or with a fire that is dim or a fading memory) have no business to stand behind a pulpit, in open air ministry or on a mission field. Sadly, many don't even know what to do or are unwilling to admit that their ministries have been squandered because the minister has allowed the distractions of life to choke them.
So, what is it that you want?
Do you long to walk with God?
Do you long to see the face of God?
Is the most important thing in your life the relationship that you have with God...and you long constantly to spend time alone with Him on a daily basis?
Has your fire dimmed?
What is it that you long for in your life?