The Flickering Flame
February 25, 2002 • By Clark Wrather
Today’s devotional is from an article written by my son, Clark Wrather, for his church newsletter. Clark is the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Broken Bow, Oklahoma. The title and Scripture were added for the devotional.
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. - Revelation 3:15-16.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.- Revelation 3:19.
Yesterday (Tuesday), I jumped on a chance to play golf before heading to the Frisco Evangelism Conference. I had not had the chance to play during the last month when we had all those nice, warm, sunny days. If I had the day off, you could count on it being cold or rainy.
Well, I finally had my chance. I thought I would be quite bad after not playing for a month, but I was just as bad as usual. The interesting thing is that I played some of the best golf of my life. I also played some of the worst golf. It was the best of times and the worst of times.
I hit every tree out there, but only lost one ball to water. Some of my shots went over two hundred feet and some of them did not go farther than twenty. I had a couple of putts that were at least thirty feet away come to rest a few inches from the hole. I had other putts that I missed, even though they were within two feet of the hole.
When it was time to leave and I was tallying up the scores, I noticed something strange. The best I did all day was at the very first hole. You might think I would have improved as the day progressed, but that did not happen. I seemed to get worse. My initial effort was my best one and the others were never as good as the first.
This seems to be true about many things in life. When we start a new job, our initial effort is often better than our latter ones. Students tend to do well at the beginning of a course and then slack off during the middle only to give it their desperate best at the end. When we start a new year, we usually give it our all. We tell ourselves that things will be different this year, but as things progress, we go back to being the same old person we always were.
This principle is often true in the Christian life. Believers often give their best and greatest effort right after they are saved. New believers are inspired by the sacrifice of the cross and the great love of a Creator for His creatures and often feel they would do anything for the new Lord of their heart. Yet, as time goes by, their zeal and the fire down in their bones seems to flicker. Some believers have even forgotten what it feels like to be inspired by God to do something in His name. They just give up and no longer try to create God’s kingdom on earth.
How about you? Do you have the same zeal and the same fire down in your bones that you had when you were first saved? Is it still blazing inside of you or is it barely flickering? Were your first efforts as a believer much greater than your current ones? If you were honest with yourself, could you admit that you spend little effort at being the person God wants you to be? How sad is it when someone’s faith was brighter in the past than it is in the present?