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Have you ever lit a candle but it kept going out? Isn't that so frustrating! Maybe it's too windy, or too much wax covering the wick, or it’s raining. Although fire is a powerful force, there are still things that can overcome its flame.
In the same way, as powerful as our passion for God may be, there are still things that can extinguish our passion and spiritual growth. So I want to share with you three problems suffocating your passion for God and how to overcome them.
The first is fear. Now I don't mean fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord simply means reverence and honor of God. I mean the spirit of fear that we are warned about in 2 Timothy 1:7. Fear will stop us from giving our all to God and doing what He's called us to do. It's the voice in our heads that tell us we can't do it, it's impossible, and we’re not strong enough. But we can overcome fear with faith. Fear paralyzes us from expressing our passion for God. But when we choose to trust God even in the face of fear, faith propels us toward our destiny. The more we choose faith, the more we will see our God faithful, and that's a sure fire way to increase your boldness and passion for Him.
The second thing suffocating your passion for God is idols. Now, don't confuse this with the golden calf we read about in the Bible. We still have idols today, they just look different. An idol is anything that we place before God or anything we place our faith in when we should be placing our faith in Jesus. So an idol can be something we consider good like ambition, education, our career, or a house. These things are not bad in and of themselves, but we make idols by placing our faith in them.
Idols don't simply exist, idols are made. And the only way to get rid of them is to starve them. If you've made an idol out of T.V., stop watching it. If you've made an idol out of social media, log off. This won't be easy because you will have to fight the itch to go back. This is why asking for accountability from a trusted girlfriend is a must. I have a friend who will give her Facebook password to her sister and have her sister change it so she will not be tempted to login when she is taking a social media break. Do whatever you need to do to stop feeding those idols with your attention and devotion.
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Now let's say you've made an idol out of something more complex like your marriage or your job. You're not going to want to end the marriage or quit your job, but you are going to want to first recognize you've made it an idol, ask God for forgiveness, and choose to believe that although they are good things they are not God. Instead, thank God for those things but don't depend on them for what only God can give you. This will help you to keep your eyes on God and His goodness and in turn maintain your passion and desire for Him.
The last thing that will hinder your passion and fire for God are distractions. Now all idols are distractions but not all distractions are idols. A distraction may not be something you place your faith in but something that has caught your eye and has your full attention. If we are not careful a distraction can easily become an idol. Distractions keep us from seeing how God is good, wonderful, and praise worthy. It's like running a race and being focused on your destination. But then you hear all this noise on your sides, so you look to see what it is but when you turn your head to see, you lose focus of your original destination, the finish line. When you are no longer looking at your final destination, you run off course. This is why God instructs Joshua before entering the Promised Land to:
“be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.” - Deuteronomy 5:32 NIV
A distraction is anything that takes your eyes off the Lord. Instead of looking to Jesus, you're looking to your left or right. Distractions don't take away the fact that God is good and worthy of our praise but they prevent us from experiencing Him this way. So they deplete us of our passion for Him. But our feelings do not dictate who God is. So when we feel He is not all He says He is, He is not the problem, we are. And many times it's because we're not really looking at Him and focused on Him like we should be. This is why, when comparing our life with Christ to a race, the Apostle Paul tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). And when we do this, we will clearly see God’s Word is true and that He is worthy. And knowing this is key to our passion for Him.
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Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.