The Lord said, “These people claim to worship me, but their words are meaningless, and their hearts are somewhere else. Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized.
Isaiah 29:13 (Good News Translation)
Sometimes in our walk of faith, we lose that fire that we once had. Maybe you’ve heard it before – people look at someone and say: “Wow, they are on fire for God”. We’ve all experienced when the Holy Spirit touches us in such a way that all we want to do is pursue God and worship him with all our hearts. The first time you gave your heart to God and was really touched by him, there’s no mistaking the feeling. You feel fresh and anew and healed.
But sometimes we allow ourselves to lose that fire, and we become lukewarm. You go to church, or to your youth group, and you already know how everything goes. When you close your eyes to pray, there’s no feeling, it’s just closing your eyes and saying a quick ‘amen’. During praise and worship, you’re singing the words, you’re raising your hands, but only because “that’s what you do” and “everyone else is doing it”.
Before you know it, your heart has become distant from God. You’re simply following a routine. You’re no longer on fire – you’re lukewarm.
Are you lukewarm?
Falling into routine is so easy. We do it all the time – waking up in the morning, or going to sleep: we have certain things that we do every day, to the point where we do it automatically without even thinking about it. The same can go for our faith. You come to church every Sunday – you sing praise and worship, you pray, you put in your tithes and offering, you listen to your pastor preach, etc. and then you go home. Sometimes we can get to the point where we can do all of this without really thinking, without actively seeking God. Our hearts are no longer where they should be.
We should never allow ourselves to become lukewarm. It’s when we stop seeking God, when we do things simply because we have ‘memorized’ it, that we leave our hearts open for attack. It’s when you’re vulnerable and your bond with God starts to break down. It’s in these moments that we backslide. I know, because it’s happened to me. And it made me realize that we should always be on fire – for God that is.
I feel that this happens a lot with young people. We get that first encounter with God and we jump in headfirst with everything we’ve got, and then a few months later, we’ve forgotten what it felt like and we’ve lost our way, because we do things out of memory, we do things because we already know how it works and we start to, I suppose, get bored in a sense, because it’s the same thing every time.
How do you know you’re lukewarm in your spirit? Maybe you’ve stopped praying everyday and you only pray when you need something. Maybe you’re no longer giving your tithes like you used to. Maybe you no longer feel excited to come to church or you no longer spend alone time with God. You’ll know it. And you’ll wonder why God didn’t answer your prayer, or why you’re in a bad place. And I read this quote on Tumblr the other day:
Don’t be a part-time Christian – you’re serving a full-time God.
Everything we do is meaningless if our hearts are not in it. Above all things, God wants our hearts. A relationship with God is not like your daily exercise routine, or your daily morning routine. It’s not something that you should do every day, automatically and without thinking or half-heartedly – it’s a relationship that will mean nothing if we don’t do it intentionally.
So I suppose this is a reminder for me, just as much as it is for you – let’s try and make every single day, a day to intentionally seek God. Let’s reignite that fire, that maybe has been long lost after the long year that has just passed us. Everyday’s a new day, let’s not do things simply because it’s already etched in our brains. Don’t let your relationship with God become another one of your routines. It’s time to reignite our hearts, and our spirits.