WHAT IS SPIRITUAL STEAM?
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Romans 12:11
Fervent. To boil over. To have a spirit that is radiant. What causes that?
Sometimes I appear to be fervent because I’ve learned to fake it. But other times I am too tired to pretend. Spiritual steam, the kind that propels a train up a mountain is hard to know how to come by. Does reading more of my Bible give it to me?
I can learn something about WWII history, get excited, and then passionately share it. But that’s one piece of history and the news will get old. Bible study (apart from the reality of Jesus revealing Himself to my heart) is this way as well. I can discover something in scripture, love what I find, but the series of facts will dissipate with time. When I’m hurting, interesting facts from the book of I Samuel won’t give me spiritual fervor.
The steam needed for the long haul comes from something childlike. Love. When I’m tired from service, I need to go home to be loved. When I’m beaten up by life, I need to go home to be loved. When I’m physically weak from the pace of meeting so many needs, I need to go home to be loved. The strongest saint retreats, comes to their Father with childlike faith and says, ‘Feed me, love me, hold me, and teach me.’ These elementary expressions of need fuel the ones we would label as having mature faith. Unlike what we might believe, their fuel does not come from some intellectual study of Calvinism verses Arminianism.
Deep weariness borders on total abdication. I teeter on the edge of just giving up. One small demand can send me over the edge. My body won’t cooperate anymore with my drill-sergeant-self-talk. It revolts. My heart doesn’t have one more internal speech to keep myself going. Quitting seems to be the only answer. I am afraid though that if I sink into an abyss of emotional and physical exhaustion, I won’t ever get out. Oh, I have been there and I didn’t know what was wrong or how to heal.
God showed me. Mature faith begins and ends with the recognition that my fuel is the love of God. “Living Life Loved” is the fuel for the body. It feels wonderful. It’s the fuel for the mind. It fosters the spiritual curiosity for study. It’s the fuel for the heart. I can’t stop thinking about the One who loves me like no other.
We will get tired. When we reach that point, let’s go home.
Your love resurrected me from the pit. A two-year pit. I had given up, had no energy or joy, but I had not experienced Your love. Thank you for the joy of serving You now with a fervent spirit. Amen