Psalms 104:4 (Young’s Literal Translation), “Making His messengers – the winds, His ministers – the flaming fire.”
Every fire eventually burns out. The heat consumes and eats up whatever fuel was used, whether it is a campfire, house fire, or a “on fire” Christian, right?
Yes, to everything but the Christian. If you are working in your own strength, and performing your religious “duty”, but are not in a relationship with God, you will burn out. It is simple. We live in these natural bodies and to do the work of God, we need supernatural power and strength. To have those things we need to be in a relationship with the One who is all Spirit.
Most burn out happens when we are working for recognition, or trying to earn the notice or favor of men. We even in our foolishness try to earn something from God. I have found myself thinking or saying, “God, look at everything I have done for you”. We should do good works, work for God, strive to please Him, but doing any of this outside of a relationship with God is all “wood, hay, and stubble.” It, and us, will be burnt up in the flame.
So how do we stay on fire for God, and not be consumed, like the burning bush that Moses saw on the mountain?
As my Senior Pastor said it, “if you want to be burn for Him, you have to place yourself in the fire”. A piece of wood that is pulled out of a fire will quickly burn out, smoldering and cooling quickly. All that is left is an ugly piece of charred wood. However, if you gaze into the fire, you only see the beauty of the flames. We have to stick around others who are on fire. Let the Spirit of God ignite the flame in your heart. It isn’t a coincidence that the Holy Spirit came on those in the upper room in the form of tongues of fire!
While in the full time ministry, I experienced “burn out” several times. Every time it was because I backed away from the One who called me into that ministry. I started going through the motions, became disgruntled, began to complain, and feel used and abused. I may not have always realized the reason at first, but it didn’t take long for me to figure it out. I had pulled myself out of the fire and was trying to be a light to others with no flame of my own. A candle doesn’t burn unless its wick is lit. That my friends is a sure way to wear yourself out.
God tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. If we are serving for any reason other than love, we will be lacking His joy. We won’t be in the fire with all the other burning ones, with the Flame Himself.
Hebrews 12:28-29 (NASB), “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”
Isaiah 33:14a-16 (NIV), “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” Those who walk righteously and speak what is right, who reject gain from extortion and keep their hands from accepting bribes, who stop their ears against plots of murder and shut their eyes against contemplating evil—they are the ones who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. Their bread will be supplied, and water will not fail them.”
Burn for Him, don’t burn out!