Fresh Fire

That ye be not slothful, but followers 
of them who through faith and patience 
inherit the promises. 
Hebrews 6:12

I don’t typically pull Bible verses from the King James version.  But in one of my devotionals this version of Hebrews 6:12 was the focus of that day’s study.  It got me thinking about my own faith and where I stand with “slothfulness.”

When you hear that word “sloth” you probably think of the lazy animal, hanging out in a tree accomplishing next to nothing all day.  Yet slothfulness is not the same as being lazy – which is how the word is translated in the New International Version.  In fact, the word “slothful” in Greek is quite different.  And in the context of the verse in Hebrews it means to not allow our faith to become monotonous or without a blazing flame.  

Slothful: nōthrós – slow, sluggish; monotonous

Strong’s Greek

For many Christians we say we are religious because we attend church regularly.  We get up Sunday morning, find our usual spot to park at church, listen to a sermon, sing a few familiar songs, and look forward to the donut or muffin on the way out.  We might chat with a few friends then head to whatever else we have on our plate for the day.  We can check off our “faith” for that week. We might even go to a Bible study during the week to put another tick mark on our “faithful” list.

And for you overachieving, super involved Christians, it’s interesting to note that the author of my devotional is an accomplished author, missionary and evangelist.  He realized he was a good “worker” for God.  But somewhere along the line it became just that – work.

But what God wants of us is deep, passionate faith. And if you already have that – awesome!  I hope you will still enjoy what is to come in my Fresh Fire posts! 

He wants us to be in love with Him.  He wants us to be eager to speak with Him and to be sad if we don’t feel His presence.  He wants us to stand for Him in the face of those who would speak against Him.  He wants us to seek the opportunities to speak about His glorious promises.  He wants us to remove all spiritual neutrality and instead burn red-hot for His message of love, forgiveness, redemption and salvation!

My son-in-law once shared with me Charles Spurgeon’s compilation of prayers called, “Spurgeon on Prayer and Spiritual Warfare.”  I soon got my own copy and was amazed with the fervor level of his sermons.  There’s nothing slothful about Mr. Spurgeon!  I wanted to share this excerpt about praying with a blazing heart:

“I would that some of you prayed more vehemently! “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matt 11:12) An old Puritan said, “Prayer is a cannon set at the gate of heaven to burst open its gates.” You must take the city by storm if you would have it. You will not ride to heaven on a feather-bed, you must go on pilgrimage; there is no going to the land of glory while you are sound asleep, dreamy sluggards will have to wake up in hell. If God has made you to feel in your soul the need of salvation, cry like one who is awake and alive; be in earnest; cry aloud; spare not.

Charles Spurgeon, The Raven’s Cry

Whew!  I get exhausted each time I read that!  And yet, during the “Great Covid Pandemic” I watched friends’ faith fall by the wayside.  They were comfortable with sitting in their PJs watching a church video and nothing more.   I also watched others be lifted to higher heights.  Their Bible study life became daily and hour-long.  Their prayers became constant and vibrant!  Their work of sanctification grew by leaps and bounds!  I have written before that I believe a great sifting has occurred.  Those who choose to be “slothful” in their faith will continue to slide out of a relationship with Jesus.  But we don’t want to be lost into the world.

For five weeks, I’ll share 25 verses about strong, energetic, and passionate faith.  A few may feel familiar but my hope is that most will be something new.   Because that’s what this series is about – stripping away the “usual” and monotonous and injecting a bit of new fire.

God’s promises are so much more beautiful and glorious than anything the world can ever offer.  It’s up to us to grab hold of our faith with renewed vigor and fire.  It’s up to us to burn in passion for our Lord.  

Here’s the prayer from that day’s devotional about slothfulness.  I hope you pray it as a stepping off point for the study!

“Lord, help me understand how totally unacceptable it is for me to lose my passion, momentum and desire.  I ask you to forgive me for allowing any hint of slothfulness to operate in my life.  Today I repent and deliberately turn from slothfulness.  Holy Spirit,  I turn to you now and ask you to stir and reignite the fire in my heart.  Please help me regain the zeal, the thrust and the fire I once possessed.  Help me to keep that fire burning this time, never to lose it again.  I pray this is Jesus’ name!”

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