I am sitting here reeling with hope.
A new dream has dawned in my heart, something that seems so absurdly obvious that you would wonder why I never saw it before.
I could actually be contagious.
The burning heart, single passion, and profound joy that I know in the Lord could actually be passed on to another person—by me being contagious!
Here I am—Here I have been for years, longing for others around me to be passionately in love with Christ, wondering why they weren’t and trying to conform to the cold and incomprehensible existence that they live, just so I could fit in.
And I have just come to this realization: I had no hope that anyone else could ever catch the fire. If they had it, they had it, and if they didn’t, I thought there was nothing I could do about it. I enjoyed the few who were radiant lights, and lamented the fact that such a small percentage of people around me exhibited this ardent love for God. I wished for more to discover the pure, undiluted joy of drinking from the never-ending fountain, but I stopped there. I considered it a hopeless wish.
Why did I think this?
Oh, some combination of fear of rejection mixed with deception. I believed the enemy’s lie, which paralyzed me. Instead of igniting others, I let their cold water quench my fire.
But think: What did God use to ignite me?
Other people with burning hearts, a bright and shining light, and a readiness to proclaim the truth and loveliness of the Lord. (That would be my parents. Thanks, mom & dad.) Their fire was contagious, and caught me on fire. There have also been a multitude of occasions where a preacher or a friend stimulated me to higher and better things, just because they themselves were contagiously radiant with the things of the Lord.
Jesus said of John the Baptist, “He was a burning and shining light, and ye were willing for a time to rejoice in that light.” Here is the same thing. One person! One guy! Just one “burning and shining light” was enough to catch many, many other people’s hearts on fire for God. John’s light reached far beyond his lifetime and even to other countries (see Acts ____).
Wow! I want to be that light. I want to catch people on fire—because I’m on fire.
And what a marvelous thought to think that I can!
I’m really quite staggered by the possibilities of this. Just think! Instead of merely witnessing to someone and getting them to pray a special prayer with you, and then shrugging your shoulders at the way they live the rest of their life, what if you could actually impart so much fire that they become a burning and shining light with you?
What if everyone I know, in my circle of Christian friends, was absolutely passionate about loving God, absolutely united for a single purpose, given to the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom?
What if we could leave behind the empty, senseless interactions that we’re so accustomed to? What if we got so hot that we didn’t care about whether we painted our nails, or whether our favorite team wins their next game, or whether our coffee drink was just the way we liked it?
What if we got so hot that we didn’t care what we ate, or if we slept, or whatever we had to sacrifice, as long as we could walk with God and do His will?
This whole thought process was stimulated by a conversation with Rosi in the ice cream aisle of Eroski (the grocery store). She expressed regret that there was not more wholehearted passion for God among the girls in the house, and she said that she came to Christ through the testimony and example of just such wholehearted, God-loving Christians. She was discipled in that environment, and she misses it now that she’s not with those people any more.
R said that she would never have come to Christ if it weren’t for the contagious exuberance of all the Christians around her. With the background she has and the strong personality that is hers, she is convinced that nothing less would have worked.
But there we were, standing in the grocery store, both of us absolutely burning with the passionate love of the Lord in our conversation, and yearning to impart it to others, desiring that everyone in the house (and in all of Betel) would work together in one heart and one mind, plumbing the depths of Who God is and how we can know Him more.
Enough with mediocrity and wishy-washy Christianity! Let us be consistent! Let us be strong!
And her contagion ignited me. I, too, want what she wants!
“How is it that we become contagious to others?” I asked.
“You know what I do?” R said. “I take every opportunity possible to work with one of the new girls. And the whole time I’m with them, I’m giving them a testimony, speaking a word of exhortation, singing praise to God, and just being a burning light.”
As we talked, my heart soared with joy, first at knowing that here, too, is someone of the burning heart. Secondly, that we could mutually lift each other up by being a burning flame of light together. And thirdly, that I could even dare to dream of igniting people’s hearts with the passion that I have.
If her contagion (and that of so many others) has ignited me, then surely God can use me to ignite others.