Still Burning Hot

16 months after the Lord had saved me, I found myself enrolled in Bible college and headed to an incoming Student Leaders retreat before classes started. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Up until this point, I hadn’t really spent any real time with Christians under the age of 40. I worked and went home to study the Scriptures. My interaction with people in my age bracket was almost 100% unbelievers. So I arrive at camp and am greeted by what appeared to be an over-caffeniated, super smiley, peace-corps. Over the next few days, I had a blast and became so excited for this opportunity to spend the next 4 years at Bible college learning not only theology but learning how to make good friends.

However, there is one memory from the camp that sticks out above all the rest. On our final night at camp one of the guys, I was getting to know pulled me aside. When it was just the two of us he said, “Hey Alex, I love how on fire you are for Jesus. We all were when we first got saved but then we learned how to mellow out. I just want you to know that it’s ok to dial it down. You won’t always be able to be on fire for Jesus like you are now. It’s a phase we all go through in the beginning.” I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. Currently, I’m actually looking at my journal entry from that night. You see, while that guy was well-meaning he actually messed me up for a bit. I began to wonder if I was being to over the top. If I was too focused on Jesus. If I really did need to take it down a few notches. I wrestled with these questions throughout the first month of classes but one night as I was reading the Scriptures, God gave me understanding. I was reading the Gospel of Luke and came across this passage:

“For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and that of the Father and the holy angels.” – Luke 9:26.

After reading that I remember that I stood up, outstretched my hands to God and cried out, “Father, to dial it down is to be unashamed. Please, don’t ever let this fire in me that rages on for you to ever die down. Keep me burning hot!

Since then, God has been so good to me and kept me burning hot for Him. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t had seasons where there were only embers glowing because those seasons are all too real for me. However, even then God adds the logs of Holy Scripture, breathes on those embers with the Holy Spirit and the fire is burning again.

Brothers, it is a lie from the pit of hell to say that the fire we had in our bellies the day He saved us cannot still burn hot. As a matter of fact, it is my conviction that those who have been born of God and are seeking to know God in greater measure MUSTburn even hotter than before.

The Apostle Paul understood this, it’s why he wrote:

“My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all courage, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” – Phil 1:20

It’s been almost 12 years since I had that conversation with the guy from camp. If it wasn’t for the grace of God I may have adopted that guy’s philosophy. But God was gracious and kept me on the path that leads to the narrow gate. How about you? Are you still burning hot? It’s never too late to ask God to blow life on the embers of your heart and get a fire going.

Alex Rodriguez