How to Ignite a Fire in Your Soul
- 2009 9 Sep
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of E. Glenn Wagner's new book, Fire in Your Bones: Ignite Your Life with Power, (LifeBridge Books, 2009).
Your faith is not for you alone; it's meant to be shared with others. But if you don't have a fire in your soul that burns with passion for God's purposes, you'll lack the power to proclaim the Gospel as He calls you to do.
Has your faith dwindled down to the embers of complacency or apathy when you encounter lost people? If so, it's time to ignite a fresh fire in your soul. Here's how:
Expect God to use your ordinary life in extraordinary ways. Realize that you don't need to depend on your own limited strength to reach lost people for Christ. All God asks is that you open yourself up to receive His Holy Spirit and follow where He leads you. When you do, the Spirit will empower you to share your faith in ways that will draw people to Christ. Rest assured that God will use your efforts to share the Gospel despite your own faults. You'll become a powerful force once the Holy Spirit burns inside your soul.
Place your confidence in God rather than your own abilities. Acknowledge that you simply can't produce any results of eternal significance on your own. No matter how much biblical knowledge you accumulate or how eloquent you are when sharing your faith, you're bound to fail if you're not trusting in the One who does have the power to change people's lives: God. While you should always strive for excellence in any task you undertake - whether it's sharing the Gospel, or doing something else - your motivation for doing your best should be to join God in His work, and your confidence should be in God rather than in your own efforts. Aim to cultivate a heart that relies completely on God each day. Pray for God to work through you to do much more than you ever could ask or imagine yourself, and expect Him to do so.
Get "down under" God. This means submitting every part of your life - not just your speaking, teaching, and preaching, but all of your day-to-day decisions, as well - to God's leadership. Develop some daily habits to help you make and keep your relationship with God at the center of your life: Bible reading, prayer, fasting, worship with others at church, etc. Ask God to anoint your life and aim to please Him by how you choose to live each day. Make it your top priority each day to invest in your relationship with God; don't devote more time and energy to anyone or anything else in your life than you do to God.
Embrace your true identity. Avoid the unhealthy extremes of being either too driven by your own ego or too self-deprecating. Instead, pray for God to help you see yourself as He sees you. When you have the humility to recognize that you must depend on God to do anything that matters, and when you have the confidence to recognize that God made you in His image for great purposes and deeply loves you, then you'll be free to live in ways fueled by a burning passion to follow where God leads you.
Experience Jesus' presence and help others encounter Him. When you head to a worship service, don't go out of mere obligation. Instead, anticipate being changed there through an actual encounter with Jesus. Pursue God's presence by seeking Him in prayer. Consider what people receive from you when you're trying to share your faith with them. Do they get religious information, or do they sense Jesus Himself at work in your life? Ask God to anoint your efforts to reach out to others by helping them see something of Him reflected in you.
Go beyond what's good to what's great. Move beyond just trying to live a good life to living a great life empowered by the Holy Spirit. Honestly review the last three days of your life to evaluate how much you either are or aren't currently aiming for greatness.
Ask yourself questions like:
- "Were you driven by a desire to sacrifice your personal preferences on behalf of someone else?"
- "Did you walk with spiritual authority, not afraid to utilize God's power to free others?"
- "Have you been filled with a sense and understanding that your decisions, choices and behavior were all being empowered by what can only be explained as supernatural?"
- "Did you enter into someone's life with a wisdom that surprised you and was beyond what you had previously known?"
- "Did God's Word leap off the pages as if the Lord Himself was speaking to you?"
- "Were you compelled to run toward a ‘sinner' rather than run away?"
- "Were you repulsed by the merely ‘religious'?"
- "Did you risk your reputation on behalf of another?"
- "Did you weep for those who don't yet understand God's power?"
- "Did you speak truth in love and grace rather than judgment or in retribution?"
- "Have you heard other believers speak of these things as an ordinary part of daily life, yet you've never really lived in such a reality yourself?"
- "Did you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit?"
- "Did you experience supernatural power?"
- "Have you felt compassion for those with no faith?"
- "Did you feel a desire to assist the poor and suffering?"
- "Have you found yourself filled with joy and praise even in the midst of heartache?"
- "Were you propelled by an inner desire to know God in all His glory and to bring honor to Him?"
- "Do you have moments of victory and inspiration, but they are sporadic and inconsistent?"
- "Have you felt compelled to have personal fellowship with the Lord?"
- "Did you feel the need to ask God to set your soul on fire for Him?"
Look for evidence of a fire. You'll know that you have a fire burning in your soul when: You won't be able to keep quiet about the truth of God, you'll have a supernatural boldness to speak what God leads you to say, and you'll experience God's supernatural power as a daily reality as the lives of people you reach out to are changed for the better in significant ways.
Adapted from Fire in Your Bones: Ignite Your Life with Power copyright 2009 by E. Glenn Wagner. Published by LifeBridge Books, Charlotte, N.C., www.lifebridgebooks.com.
E. Glenn Wagner is the president of FutureLead, conducting conferences for pastors and senior executives nationwide. A noted author, his many books include The Church You've Always Wanted, and The Heart of a Godly Man. He makes his home in Charlotte, NC.
Original publication date: September 9, 2009