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Kathy Howard, author of the new release Fed Up with Flat Faith, is guest blogging for us today. You can read Kathy’s personal blog at www.kathyhoward.org. 

Gathering Tinder for a Faith Fire

Jan is an average gal with an above average passion for Jesus. When she talks about Him, her eyes widen, her voice fills with excitement, and sometimes she even has trouble standing still. God has gifted Jan with a beautiful voice she uses to serve Him. When she lifts it in praise, her love for Him is obvious. In those moments, Jan’s worship fuels worship in the hearts of many around her. Others long to have the passion for Jesus they see in Jan but it eludes them. And a few simply watch and listen, seemingly unmoved.

How would Jan’s worship affect you? Would your ready heart quickly warm in worship? Would you struggle to find passion for the One who made you? Or would you be like the few—resigned to settle for a dry, listless, boring faith?

When the topic of Jesus comes up around my friend Jan, she either beams with excitement or cries tears of joy and gratitude. What about you? How do you react when you hear the name “Jesus”? Perhaps a smile tugs at the corners of your mouth and your heart warms within your chest. “Jesus.” Or maybe you feel apathetic or detached. “Jesus.”

Is Your Faith Flat and Dry?

If you’re faith is a bit on the flat side, you’re not alone. Many Christians struggle with spiritual dryness. I struggled for two decades. But I didn’t have to settle and neither do you. Although even the most passionate Christian occasionally feels cold, that does not have to be the default setting in your relationship with Jesus. God can replace cool distance with warm intimacy and set your dry faith on fire!

The first step in starting any fire is to gather tinder. Touched by even a slight spark, these small pieces of wood, leaves, or straw catch fire quickly, providing the flame needed to light the kindling and in turn the larger wood. A roaring fire begins with the small tinder.

Recalling experiences with God can act as “tinder” for His spiritual fire. Tinder experiences include times we felt God’s presence, saw Him work in our own lives or the lives of others, and those moments when our hearts were overwhelmed with awe and worship for our Creator.

As we recall these experiences we are gathering tinder that God can ignite. The more experiences we gather, the more we will desire to experience. As our craving for God increases, we will recognize more of His activity. As we recognize more of His activity, these experiences continue to build our passion and increase our craving still more. It’s a glorious, faith-building cycle.

You may feel as though you don’t even have any tinder to gather. Perhaps you rarely, if ever, sense God’s presence or see His activity. Be encouraged, if you are a child of God, He is with you. In the midst of my flat faith years, I did not feel the presence of God or see His activity around me. But today, as I look back on those same years, I can see God’s hand.

According to Scripture, whether we see it or not, God is always working. Sometimes, we just need a little help to notice the kind of work God alone can do. Together, let’s think through some ways God has possibly been active in and around your life.

Gather Tinder for a Spark

Prayerfully consider the prompts listed below. Take your time as you move through the list. I encourage you to write down the specific instances in your life that God brings to mind. With each “God encounter” you remember also record how you felt, how you responded (or should have responded), and what this instance teaches you about God and His ways. Recall times when:

  • God strengthened or comforted you in a time of difficulty
  • God provided for you in a time of material need
  • God convicted you of sin to bring you to repentance and restore your relationship
  • God allowed you to see Him working around you in circumstances or people’s lives
  • God overwhelmed you with the beauty and majesty of His creation
  • God whispered guidance to your heart and mind
  • God helped you understand and apply His Word
  • God gave you a real and immediate sense of His presence
  • Any other experience with God that He brings to your mind now

Please don’t worry if your list is short right now. Continued reflection and a prayerful attitude before God can help you reclaim divine encounters you thought were lost. Today is just the beginning.

Continue to purposefully watch for God’s activity. Keep your eyes open to His work around you and seek to be aware of His presence with you. Start a journal to record these things and reread it regularly. Keep adding tinder to your faith fire anticipating God’s fiery touch!

This article is adapted from Fed Up with Flat Faith: 10 Attitudes and Actions to Pump Up Your Faith by Kathy Howard. You can read an excerpt here. Find out more about Kathy and her books, speaking, and ministry.  

 

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