“Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord.” Romans 12:11 (NIRV)
What does it mean to “keep the fire burning?”
In context of the verse above, the word ‘fire’ is a metaphorical means of saying passion or zeal. Here is the same verse in the Tree of Life version, “Do not be lagging in zeal; be fervent in spirit. Keep serving the Lord.” The Scripture tells us that, as believers, we should serve God enthusiastically; obeying His Word and doing what He calls us to do.
Reflect on what you enjoy doing in life, on what you are passionate about. Maybe it’s a job or a career, or maybe a hobby or favorite pastime. Whatever it is, doesn’t it make you happy? Could you say that it sets your soul on fire? In the same way, we should be on fire for God. We accomplish this by serving Him and zealously committing all of our works unto him. “Commit whatever you do to Adonai, and your plans will succeed,” (Proverbs 16:3).
He places a calling on each and every one of us, and that calling could be anything. If we allow God to inspire us, everything that we are called to do will be meaningful and kindle the zeal within us. “Serve with a positive attitude, as to the Lord and not to men— knowing that whatever good each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free,” (Eph. 6:7&8).
We as believers should never allow the passion that we have for God to diminish.
When I attended a private elementary school as a child, one of my teachers explained that being lukewarm was like a cup of hot coffee that sat too long. It’s lost nearly all of its heat to the point that you would spit it out. In Revelation, God says that He will spew us out if we are lukewarm. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. Oh, that you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spew you out of My mouth,” (Rev. 3:15&16). The best ways to prevent (or fix) this are to study the Torah, pray, obey, and serve, doing everything as unto Him.
The very nature of fire is interesting. It can burn continuously as long as it has heat, fuel, and oxygen. Without those three elements, the fire would starve and die. We too require certain elements to keep the fire burning within us. Figuratively speaking, our passion for God is like the heat, the Torah is like the fuel, and the Ruach is like the oxygen. Without each of those things, the fire in us would dwindle and eventually go out. Fire is also a source of light and has a tendency to spread. When we are spiritually on fire, we become lights which radiate into the world.
The beautiful thing about fire is that it pulsates with life. It eats and breathes. In the dark, it glows and coruscates. It’s hard to ignore it. So when we are on fire, we are alive spiritually. Let us keep the fire burning within us so that we may ever be zealous for God.