One of things I enjoy as a pastor is working from public places. It allows me to see what everyday people are struggling with or excited about in their lives. It also gives me an opportunity to get to know people and interact with them, instead of spending all day in my office.
This past week I went to Cracker Barrel and asked for a seat near the fireplace. I love being near a good fire, and if I am not careful I can get caught daydreaming in front of a fireplace. As I sat there, this particular day, I got caught starring into this fireplace. It had a good fire, and you could feel the intense heat from many feet away.
I have heard others talk about this thought and I experience it first-hand this week. As I stared into the heart of the fire, I could not help but notice how red and hot the coals were in the middle. But as I looked around there were some coals that had gotten separated from the fire and instead of being red, they were black and smoldering.
My mind raced to the fact that we as Christians are often the same way. When we are plugged into the middle of all that God is doing and we are enjoying the fellowship of other believers, and we are in the middle of the work, it is easy to be red hot and on fire for God. When we start separating ourselves from the fire and we think that Sunday School is no longer important, and we start forsaking the assembly of ourselves together, and we start thinking our personal walk is no longer important that we find ourselves no longer on fire. All of the sudden the people around us don’t see us as red hot, they see us as charred and smoldering.
I know sometimes we all go through times of difficulty and our human tendency is to draw away from the things of God, but could I encourage you during those times to draw closer to Him? James 4:8-10 tells us, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
Draw nigh to God today, get into the fire, and let God lift you up!