By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
Sometimes, we become so disillusioned with life that our love and commitment to God begins to wane.
Perhaps through fear, guilt, anger, bitterness, disappointment, or hopelessness we feel ourselves reaching a point where we have “lost our fire.”
What do we do in these situations?
How do we get our fire back, when we are just about ready to quit?
In this regard, I would like to share with you an interesting passage of Scripture about the Apostles of Jesus.
Some of them were very ready to quit, and they needed to get their fire back.
John 21:3-Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.
Speaking of the Greek of this passage, renowned scholar Kenneth Wuest informs us:
“After setting the scene, John plunges at once to the heart of the matter with Peter’s announcement to his fellow-disciples, ‘I go a fishing’ (A.V.). From the words of the translation, one would gather that Peter’s intention was merely to throw a net into the sea for a brief fling at fishing until such time as Jesus would appear as He promised to do. But when we examine the Greek text, we find something very serious. The words, ‘I go’ are the translation of hupago, which is used to denote the final departure of one who ceases to be another’s companion or attendant. This was Peter’s formal announcement after the consultation which the disciples had, presumably in his one, to the effect that he was abandoning his preaching commission received from the Lord Jesus, breaking his relations with Him so far as any future service was concerned. The words ‘a fishing’ are the translation of the present infinitive of the verb halieuo. The action is durative, progressive, action going on constantly. The tense reverses to the habitual action of fishing. This also includes the fact of the character of the person performing the action, namely, that he is a fisherman by trade. Thus, by using this word, John reports Peter as announcing the fact that he is going back to his fishing business permanently. this drastic decision on the part of Peter, is hard to believe except for the following considerations: First, the above translation and interpretation is based upon a rigid adherence to the rules of Greek grammar and the exact meaning of the Greek words involved. Second, when we remember that this decision was made by such a one as the unpredictable, vacillating, impetuous Peter, one can understand the possibility of such a thing. Third, the man made are this decision was the one who said to Jesus, ‘Be it far from thee Lord; this shall not be unto itself thee,’ referring to the Cross. This was the man who denied that he knew Jesus, and called down a divine curse upon himself, and took an oath upon the veracity of his statement, to the effect that he did not know the Lord. The disciple who was such an easy tool of Satan in these two occurrences, could also easily be used of him in this post-resurrection crisis which faced our Lord. And this is the crisis. Here was one of the chief apostles, not only deserting his preaching Commission to go back to business, but leading six other disciples with him to do the same thing….John goes on with the narrative in these words. ‘They say to him, We are coming also with you.’ The Greek word translated ‘coming’ does not refer merely to the act of going with someone, but in a context like this, also includes the idea of joining that person’s party or activity.” (Kenneth Wuest, Great Truths To Live By-Jesus And Peter-E-Sword Edition)
Peter (and these other Apostles) had “lost their fire.” They were ready to quit. They had had enough.
Let’s notice several things about this account that help us to better understand what to do when we are ready to quit.
There May Be Several Reasons Why We Lose Our Fire And Are Ready To Quit
The text tells us here about how some of these Apostles were ready to give up and quit.
Yet what had happened to bring them to this point? Why would they have been so ready to abandon their Lord and His calling after He had risen from the dead?
There may be several reasons.
First, there may have been guilt.
On the night Christ was betrayed, He prophesied that HIs Apostles would forsake Him.
John 16:32-Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
Peter himself had sworn that he would never forsake Christ, and that He would even go to prison and die for Christ!
Mark 14:29-31-29 Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” 30 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” 31 But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all said likewise.
Notice that last phrase: “and they all said likewise.”
Yet when the hour came, what happened?
Mark 14:50-Then they all forsook Him and fled.
Sometimes, we are ready to quit because we have guilt in our hearts. We have messed up, we have let God and others down, and so we are prepared to just give up.
Could that be the reason why the Apostles were ready to quit?
Second, perhaps the Apostles were ready to quit because of fear.
Jesus had told them that He wanted them to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). He promised them repeatedly that they would suffer for Him.
John 16:20-Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
No doubt, these words of their Lord would have truly “struck home” when they had watched Him arrested and later learned of His suffering and execution.
And think of that responsibility! Preaching the Gospel to every creature in the entire world!
When we think of the many circumstances surrounding the Apostles, we begin to see why they had lost their fire.
When We Lose Our Fire And Turn From God, Our Earthly Ambitions Will Ultimately Fail
Notice that as a result of their losing their fire and turning from God, the Apostles meet with “mixed results.”
John 21:3-Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.
When we turn to the world, the devil offers many comforts.
The Apostles had a boat; they had their work experience; they had a promising sea to make a catch.
Nevertheless, what was the ultimate result?
Their plans failed.
You see, when we first go back to the world, it offers so much glitter and gold! Our eyes are filled with the seeming promise of the things “out there.” If the world didn’t appear tempting, it would not really catch our fancy would it?
Hebrews 11:24-26-By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Genesis 3:6-So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
However short lived the pleasures of the world apart from God appear, they will eventually end in failure. That is the meaning of what Paul said in Romans 6:23, that the “wages of sin is death.” What we will ultimately reap from sin is death.
Notice how this is so vividly is displayed here: even though things at first appeared promising in leaving the Lord’s work, there was ultimately failure.
Let me share another relevant thought here.
Sometimes, we see our loved ones turn from the Lord and we try and bring them back. This is right and good! After all, the Bible continually reminds us of our need to encourage people to turn to the Lord and be saved (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; James 5:19-20; Galatians 6:1-2). However, sometimes people need to learn from their failures and see the end results of sin. Don’t’ we see this from the parable of the prodigal son?
Luke 15:14-16-14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.
I believe that sometimes we read this passage and don’t truly realize just how far the prodigal son had fallen by this point. John MacArthur does an excellent job describing his state at this point:
“Feeding pigs was also extremely demeaning work. It was virtually the lowest possible chore in the whole hierarchy of labor. It required no skill whatsoever, so this was a role often given to people who were mentally deficient, bereft of all social skills, or otherwise unfit for life in polite society. Remember that the demon-possessed possessed man in Gadara was living in a place where swine fed (Mark 5:11)….One of the cable television networks that specializes in educational documentaries recently did a feature about a large hog farm in Nevada, focusing on the means by which they feed their animals.. They start by collecting massive amounts of garbage from the Las Vegas strip, where several tons of spoiled or leftover food are thrown away daily from the casinos’ extravagant buffets. Those leftovers are systematically gathered and hauled to the pig farm in enormous slop trucks. In the desert heat, by the time the garbage arrives at the farm, it has already blended into a tank of nauseating semiliquid stew. The stench from so much decomposing food must likewise be virtually unbearable. The slop is poured onto a kind of flumelike conveyor system where workers take out as many pieces as possible of various plastic food containers and other nonbiodegradables. The stream of spoiled food is channeled into a two-story-tall kettle, where the whole mess is cooked in order to eliminate the worst bacteria. The resulting goulash is then allowed to cool. By then it’s a nondescript, chunky, gloppy, bile-colored goo. That substance is poured by bucketfuls into long, filthy troughs that are permanently caked with large amounts of mud and pig excrement. Even as workers fill the troughs, however, the pigs squeal with delight and push one another aside, positioning themselves under the streams of pig slop while it is being poured from the buckets. The swine eagerly devour gallons of the stuff within moments. Sickening as it was to watch (or even read about), the news program graphically demonstrated that pigs will eat anything….Although the English text describes the pigs’ dwelling place as “fields,” it actually would have been a remote, harsh, rocky wilderness where nothing could grow besides tangled scrub. Don’t imagine that the pigs occupied any kind of lush agricultural field or grassland. Famine or not, hogs being raised for market were always consigned to wilderness land that was useless for any other purpose because pigs are destructive to valuable crops and gardens. With absolutely no other options, the Prodigal accepted the job and went to work. The citizen “sent him into his fields to feed swine” (v. 15). That means the Prodigal took up permanent residence out in the harsh wilderness, living with the hogs. He became a full-time swineherd…Jesus said, “He would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate” (v. 16). The Greek word translated “pods” is keration-a word signifying carob pods. These were long string-bean-shaped seed pods that grew on scrubby, treelike bushes. The beans inside the pods were hard, and the pod shells were tough and leathery. A powder made from the ground beans is sometimes used as a substitute for chocolate. late. A kind of molasses can also be extracted from the beans, and that was an important source of sugar in the ancient Middle East. Other than that, however, carob pods are inedible for humans and frankly not all that nutritious even for livestock. But the trees are amazingly hardy, so even during an intense drought or plague of insects, carob pods may yet be abundant. They have often been used as a supplement for livestock feed in times of famine, and animals such as pigs and cattle can subsist on a steady diet of carob pods when necessary. That’s exactly what was happening here. As the Prodigal watched the swine greedily devouring those carob pods, he found himself earnestly longing to fill his own stomach with the swine food. If only those pods were edible for him! “He would gladly have filled his stomach” with them (v. 16; emphasis added).” (John MacArthur, A Tale Of Two Sons: The Inside Story Of A Father, His Sons, And A Shocking Murder, 73-76 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson)
The prodigal son had fallen so far, and was in such desperate straits! Yet what was the result of his horrendous situation?
Luke 15:17 (CEV)-Finally, he came to his senses and said, “My father’s workers have plenty to eat, and here I am, starving to death!
Luke 15:17 (ERV)-The son realized that he had been very foolish. He thought, ‘All my father’s hired workers have plenty of food. But here I am, almost dead because I have nothing to eat.
Sometimes, people need to hit that proverbial “rock bottom” to learn from their sins. God sometimes allows us to go through these difficult times in order to try and bring us to our senses.
I love the way that the CEV translates some of the words of Jeremiah the Prophet as he looks around at the destruction of the city of Jerusalem:
Lamentations 3:17-33 (CEV)-17 I cannot find peace or remember happiness. 18 I tell myself, “I am finished! I can’t count on the LORD to do anything for me.” 19 Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wandering makes me miserable. 20 That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed. 21 Then I remember something that fills me with hope. 22 The LORD’s kindness never fails! If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed. 23 The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning. 24 Deep in my heart I say, “The LORD is all I need; I can depend on him!” 25 The LORD is kind to everyone who trusts and obeys him. 26 It is good to wait patiently for the LORD to save us. 27 When we are young, it is good to struggle hard. 28 and to sit silently alone, if this is what the LORD intends. 29 Being rubbed in the dirt can teach us a lesson; 30 we can also learn from insults and hard knocks. 31 The Lord won’t always reject us! 32 He causes a lot of suffering, but he also has pity because of his great love. 33 The Lord doesn’t enjoy sending grief or pain.
We need to realize that when we lose our fire for God and turn back to the world, all of our plans will eventually fail.
When We Lose Our Fire For God, Jesus Is There Searching For Us And Ready To Welcome Us Back
It would be so depressing if the story ended there, wouldn’t it? Sometimes we are ready to put a period at a certain point in our lives. Yet with God’s help and intervention, a “period” often is actually a comma. It is not the end of the story; there is much more to it.
You see, Jesus is there waiting for us to come back.
John 21:4-8-4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?” They answered Him, “No.”. 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat (for they were not far from land, but about two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fish.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, came looking for His erring disciples. He was there for when they failed and fell away, and He was there to welcome them back.
Notice that Jesus didn’t throw up His hands and say, “Those ungrateful jerks! They have gone too far this time!”
Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “In order to be accepted by Me, you must become perfect and sinless and do enough good works to offset your bad works.”
A lot of times, brothers and sisters in Christ believe these two sentiments.
However, what did Jesus do?
First, Jesus came to them.
Ezekiel 34:12-As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, Who comes seeking the lost (Luke 19:10).
Second, notice that Jesus appeared to them on the shore. Now, He could have come to them on the water (after all, He was able to walk on it-Matthew 14:25). Or, He could have appeared to them on their ship (Luke 24:36; John 20:19-23).
So, why did Jesus appear on the shore to them?
I am a firm believer that everything in Scripture is there to teach us some important lesson (2 Timothy 3:16-17). With that in mind, I believe one of the reasons why Jesus appeared to them on the shore was so that they could still choose to come to Him, without His overwhelming them with His Presence and forcing Himself on them. Philosophers refer to this concept as “epistemic distance.” One scholar, Thomas B. Warren, describes the concept like this:
“Further, in order for man to be free, he would have to live in an environment in which there was neither an overwhelming “tug” (persuasion) in the direction toward God nor one in the direction away from God. Two extreme situations would have to be avoided: a situation in which man lived directly in the presence of God, and a situation in which he did not have an adequate manifestation (or evidence) of God’s existence. The environment which man needed would have to be one in which man would be at an “epistemic distance”30 from God yet not so far away as to preclude his freely making his own decision to come to God in love and submission (to live truly as a son of God). This means that for man to be truly free in relation to God, his environment must be one which makes it possible for man to consider the world without immediately and automatically deducing the existence of God from that consideration. Yet, at the same time, we assume that it must be an environment from which it is possible to deduce correctly that God does exist. For one man, the world may veil God; for another man it may reveal him. This is as it must be–if man is to be truly free. He can feel the “tug” to choose the world (by becoming self-centered) rather than the “tug” to choose God (by becoming God-centered–and, to some lesser extent, brother-centered). At the same time, however, he lives in a world which declares (to him who will allow himself to see it) the glory of God.31 This declaration is at least part of the “tug” in the direction toward God. Since God is infinite in power, knowledge, and goodness (and thus will never make a choice for the “second best” of anything), we assume that no better world (for the purpose God had in creating it) could have been created. And, there is nothing in the nature of things which compels us to believe otherwise.” (Thomas B. Warren, Have Atheists Proved There Is No God? A Critical Study Of Strongest Argument Which Has Been Advanced In Favor Of Atheism, 701-716 (Kindle Edition); Glasgow, KY; National Christian Press)
Another excellent author and preacher, Kriss Cecil-Crihfield, described epistemic distance in this way:
“Some might object that an infinitely powerful Creator would be able to communicate with man in whatever media so as to completely convince all who heard it (i.e. God would be able to create a book with such overwhelming evidence in His favor, that the reader would be compelled to believe). This was alluded to earlier in the section on general revelation. A person can look at the world and decide to live as though there is no God. The same applies to the special revelation from God. A person can read the entire Bible from cover to cover and close it never to obey one command therein.
“It may sound peculiar, but this is exactly as it must be. While God is more than capable of creating an overwhelming revelation that imposes His will on a person, He is not willing to do so. Such an act would be inconsistent with a perfectly good God. How could a being be justly rewarded for doing something when it really had no choice in the matter in the first place? Also conversely, how could a person be justly punished when not enough evidence was given to support the desired conclusion? For example, in Genesis 4, when Abel offered the good sacrifice (according to faith in God’s command, Hebrews 11:4) and Cain offered the unlawful sacrifice (1 John 3:4), Abel was respected, and Cain was not. They both knew what God wanted from them (Romans 10: 17). God did not provide such overwhelming evidence for such a sacrifice that would have resulted in both Cain and Abel irresistibly compelled to do so. Likewise, God did not allow Adam and Eve to be so uninformed that they would have been forced by Satan to eat the fruit. They both had exactly enough knowledge to make the willful choice. One obeyed, the other did not. What we are dealing with here is what is called the “epistemic distance.” Epistemology is the study of the “origin, nature, method, and limits of knowledge” (Deaver 28). The epistemic distance is the exact amount of knowledge (read evidence) a person has been given to come to a correct conclusion, but not so much knowledge as to render the person helpless to resist. Some call this free will. Without this “free moral agency” man would be a programmed robot, incapable of disobedience, but also incapable of true obedience. When the Bible is examined in this light, it reveals the extraordinary wisdom of God. Not only is He capable of giving the world the only way to heaven, but He has given it in a way that every person can accept it based on the evidence or ignore it as he chooses.” (https://warrenapologetics.org/articles-the-bible/2016/11/8/how-to-prove-the-bible-is-gods-word?rq=Kriss)
When you lose your fire, Jesus will come looking for you; and yet He will allow that distance for you to choose to come to Him and be rescued.
James 4:8-Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
When We Lose Our Fire And Return To Jesus, He Will Welcome Us Back And Care For Us
What does Jesus do when we return to Him? He welcomes us back!
John 21:12-14-12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish. 14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.
The God that we serve always provides for His people and their needs.
Psalm 84:11-For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.
Philippians 4;19-And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
When We Lose Our Fire And Return To Jesus, He Works With Us Personally
Please notice that Jesus works with us individually. Notice that He lovingly and graciously takes Peter aside and works with him.
John 21:15-So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
Friends, did you know that Jesus knows your personal struggles and trials? He is aware of your innermost problems and issues.
Matthew 6:8-Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
Hebrews 2:17-18-17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Hebrews 4:15-16-15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 7:25-Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
When We Lose Our Fire And Return To Jesus, He Challenges Us
First, Jesus challenges us to grow in our love for Him.
Look carefully what we are told:
John 21:15-17-15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
There is something that takes place here in the Greek that we often do not see in many of our English translations. In the conversation between Peter and Jesus, there are two different words used that are translated by our word “love.” Jesus says, “Peter do you love (Agapao) me?” Peter answers, “Lord you know I love (phileo) you. The second time, the same words are used. The third time Jesus says, Peter do you love (phileo) Me?” And then Peter is hurt because He said the third time, “Do you love (phileo) Me?” So he answers again, “Lord, you know that I love (phileo) you.
To understand this, we need to return to a study of the original languages. Wuest tells us:
“Agapao is used in its various forms in the New Testament about three hundred and twenty times. It is a love called out of a person’s heart by an awakened sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it. It expresses a love of approbation and esteem. Its impulse comes from the idea of prizing. It is a love that recognizes the worthiness of the object loved. Thus, this love consists of the soul’s sense of the value and preciousness of its object, and its response to its recognized worth in admiring affection. Phileo is used forty-five times in its various forms in the New Testament. This is an unimpassioned love, a friendly love. It is a love called out of one’s heart as a response to the pleasure one takes in a person or object….The one loving finds a reflection of his own nature in the person or thing loved. It is a love of liking, an affection for some one or something that is the outgoing of one’s heart in delight to that which affords pleasure….In contrasting phileo and agapao, we might say that the former is a love of pleasure, the latter a love of preciousness; the former a love of delight, the latter a love of esteem; the former a love called out of the heart by the apprehension of pleasurable qualities in the object loved, the latter a love called out of the heart by the apprehension of valuable qualities in the object loved; the former takes pleasure in, the latter ascribes value to; the former is a love of liking, the latter a love of prizing…Jesus uses agapao twice, then suddenly goes to phileo. Peter uses phileo throughout. Jesus asks Peter for a love of devotion. Peter offers Him a love of emotion. Had Peter had a love of devotion for his Lord, he would not have deserted Him at this important and strategic time, for such a love would have impelled him to remain true to his Master and to the preaching commission which he was given. Naturally, under the circumstances in which Peter found himself, caught in the act of desertion, Peter could only confess to a love of emotion, a fondness for Jesus as his Teacher, a liking for Him and His fellowship. What Peter Jesus here was a non-ethical affection….Jesus now takes the fifth step in His attempt to bring this renegade disciple back to his preaching mission. He says, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you have a love for Me called out of your heart by My preciousness to you, a love which impels you to sacrifice yourself for Me? And with this love do you love me more then you love these?” There were the great fish which they had caught, possibly still in the net, showing intermittent signs of life. The question simmered down to this, “Peter, are these fish more precious to you or am I more precious? By your actions you tell me plainly that you regard your fishing business of more value then the preaching mission upon which I sent you.’…Jesus says to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, do you have a fondness for Me?’ Jesus now takes Peter’s word and in effect says, ‘Peter, I am beginning to believe that you do not even have a fondness for Me, judging from your actions of deserting Me and your preaching mission.’ John says that Peter was grieved that our Lord used word phileo the third time Ha asked him whether he loved Him. The point is not that Peter was grieved that the Lord asked him three times whether he loved him, but that Jesus used the word He did with the implications back of it.” (Kenneth Wuest, Great Truths To Live By-Jesus And Peter-E-Sword Edition)
Just like Peter, the Lord accepts us where we are: yet He challenges us to grow in our love and in our relationship with Him. Where we are at before we lost our fire for Him is where we must begin to grow and excel.
Second, Jesus challenges us to work for Him. Just as Simon had a responsibility to continue in and to excel in his work for the Savior, so we must do also. Please notice that God has a work for each of us to do:
Mark 13:34-It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.
Notice that in the church, we are part of the body of Christ which has very important work to do!
Ephesians 4:16-from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Third, when we lose our fire for God and return to Jesus, He challenges us to walk with Him and be willing to lay down our lives for Him.
John 21:18-19-18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
Peter would lay down his life for the Lord that he had deserted. What a privilege! To be extended undeserved grace, and an opportunity to show his Lord the love that he had thus far failed to show Him.
In this statement of Jesus, there was a great encouragement: while there was work to do, there would come a great day of rest and rejoicing.
Friends, the same Lord promises us that today. Our trials and afflictions are but for a moment and work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Let Jesus bring your fire back. He searches for you, and lovingly calls you to return. He came and died for your sins, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). The believer who repents and is baptized into Christ is promised His forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). The Christian who has turned from the Lord (like Peter) is promised sweet restoration if he will but repent and confess his sins to the Lord in prayer (1 John 1:9). Why not obey Him today?
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.