This past Labor Day I tried to start a campfire for my kids. After multiple attempts, I resorted to using gasoline. Needless to say, it wasn’t the wisest decision of my life. All of us are still alive and we ended up with a campfire and s’mores, but my kids might be scarred for life.
Fast forward to today, I somehow ended up on Smokey the Bear’s website. Who knew Smokey had his own webpage? It might have been a sign from God.
On Smokey’s website I learned the basics of campfire safety. And as I read I also learned that there are three elements needed to keep a fire going: called The Fire Triangle.
What are the three elements? Oxygen, heat, and fuel.
Oxygen, heat, and fuel.
To keep a physical fire going you need these three things.
Now, when it comes to God and our relationship with Jesus, the elements are different but we also need three elements to keep our heart on fire for God.
Before we go further, what does it mean to have your heart on fire for God?
All throughout the Bible fire symbolizes God’s presence. From Moses and the burning bush to the Holy Spirit appearing as tongues of fire to the disciples in the book of Acts, fire shows that God was present to his people.
When our heart is on fire it means that we’re filled with God and all that he is.
When God’s fire is within us, when he’s inside of us, we’re filled with his love, his grace, his joy, and his patience. We’re filled with it and it flows out through our words and actions and attitude.
When God’s fire is within us, when he’s inside of us, we’re filled with his love, his grace, his joy, and his patience.
When God’s fire is in us we overflow with his truth and his conviction, and he begins to show us right from wrong. He begins to challenge us in places we need to change.
You see, when our heart is on fire for God, our love and passion for Jesus grows. And we want more and more of God in our lives.
Back to Smokey the Bear, It’s one thing to start a fire, but how do we keep it going? How do we set our hearts ablaze?
Here are the three different elements we need to keep our heart burning for Jesus:
- Time with God
What’s the first element we need to keep our fire burning? Time with God. Faithful and consistent time with Him.
Time opening up the Bible and reading.
Time talking with God and listening to Him in prayer.
Faithful and consistent time worshipping God.
I can’t stress the “faithful and consistent” time with God enough. And just being upfront, faithful and consistent are not fun words, right? But what’s the basis of any good relationship—friendships, marriages, family—faithful and consistent time together.
Just being upfront, faithful and consistent are not fun words.
It’s choosing to show up, even when you don’t want to. It’s choosing to love someone, even when the feelings are gone.
And hopefully we have those mountaintop moments with God where the flames are huge, but that’s not the basis of our fire, those moments just add to it.
More than anything, each day it’s acknowledging God and inviting Him into more and more of our day.
The second element we need is community. It’s time with others, and specifically with other people who love you and love Jesus.
People who just by being with them, you find yourself growing in your love for God.
People who love you enough to show up and at times just listen.
People who love you enough to speak the hard truth.
People who love you and are there to pray for you.
More than anything, people who love you and point you back to Jesus.
Something that blows me away with this: we say we want community, and we’re lonely, and we want other people in our lives, but honestly I don’t think we do.
We say we want community, and we’re lonely, and we want other people in our lives, but honestly I don’t think we do.
Why? Because we constantly flake out, and we don’t show up to anything.
But here’s the truth: if we want to grow in our love for Jesus, if we want the fire inside us to keep burning and keep growing, we need it. We need community.
- Do Something
The third thing we need to keep our fire burning is to do something. Part of keeping our fire burning is actually living out our walk with Jesus.
As followers of Christ our faith is active!
It moves us.
It challenges us to step out of our comfort zone.
To make changes in our lives.
To boldly follow Jesus.
Each time we step out, our fire, it grows.
Each time we trust God, it grows.
Each hard decision we make.
Each time we just say: “Yes Jesus, I trust you.”
Our fire it burns and burns and burns.
We need to do something.
Hear this: if our relationship with Jesus hasn’t changed us,
if our relationship with Jesus doesn’t make us uncomfortable,
if our relationship with Jesus hasn’t led us to action,
we might want to make sure that we’re following Jesus, because I would argue that we’re not.
If our relationship with Jesus hasn’t led us to action, we might want to make sure that we’re following Jesus, because I would argue that we’re not.
These are the three elements we need to keep our fire going: time with God, community, and do something.
Looking back at The Fire Triangle, we need these three elements. But the moment you take out one of these three things, the fire will go out.
What element or elements do you personally need to grow in?
(Note: As a pastor, one of the hardest things to see is a person’s heart being set on fire, only to see that same fire go out. Whether it’s a new Christian getting excited about Jesus—their life is changing, and they’re growing, and they get baptized, and you can just see the fire—or a person who has faithfully followed Jesus for years—loving the Lord through highs and lows—to see either person’s fire for Jesus go out is heartbreaking. As a pastor I lose sleep over it.)