I’ve come across many people who were on fire for God. But then, after a period, there was a drastic change in demeanor. Not necessarily bad, but as if something extinguished the fire they once had. They believe in God, but they’re not as passionate as they once were.
Maybe “life happened,” as we like to say. They got busy, tired, or distracted. Maybe someone questioned or attacked them for a belief or view, so they intentionally closed off. Another common reason is burnout. You run so hard and fast, doing all the things, serving everyone everywhere that you eventually hit a wall. Or another is comfortability, where you settled for just enough, and capped yourself from continued growth.
All these lead to complacency and/or discouragement.
Through complacency, you feel you’ve done enough. And through discouragement, you feel as though you’re not enough. Both make you look at your “on fire for God” days as the good ol’ days, days you won’t get back. This is saddening because you wanted to do more but feel you can’t. You compare your current self to your past self and let your faith get extinguished because it’s just not how things used to be.
The thing is, we’re not supposed to compare our current selves to our past selves. I think that’s why many people get upset with their looks the older they get, too. It even says in Ecclesiastes 7:10 to not ask “why were the old days better than these?” because it’s not wise to ask such questions.
Life will keep going and we will keep changing and growing, so instead of getting complacent or discouraged, we need to learn how to keep getting it after we got it.
Keep Getting it After You Got it
I sense that many believers who follow Jesus gradually walk slower and in the back of the sheep herd when life happens. They expected to arrive or thought they’d be further in life than they are now but didn’t and so they dwindle back and stop getting it after they got it.
When I say keep getting it after you got it, I mean to keep growing in your relationship with God. Not in your own strength and by your own means, but with God. Because the truth is, life does happen.
We get curveballs thrown at us constantly. We get tired and burnt out because we’re human. But instead of getting shaken in our faith, discouraged, or complacent, we can look at what Jesus said in John 16 and continue growing in our relationship with Him. We can stay steady in our faith and consistent in our trust because He sent us Help and offered us peace.
Throughout this chapter, Jesus tells His disciples repeatedly that they will experience hardships, and the same goes for us. He didn’t promise a life of eases and pleases. There will be persecution, trials, and sorrow. But He didn’t leave us with just that.
He provided a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who is our guide, counselor, and help in our time of need; and His peace. His personal, powerful, and perfect peace which is available to each of us.
As we experience the difficulties of life, we must understand that it’s all an ongoing process which we can handle with confident humility. Through the Holy Spirit’s help and the peace of Christ, we can continue to keep getting it after we got it.
An Ongoing Process
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth…
Often, we go through stuff and can’t see the other side because we’re not ready yet, we cannot bear them now. Part of going through it is what can strengthen our faith and our relationship with God, and provide a testimony to encourage, strengthen, and edify other believers. But while we’re going through it, we must pursue the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, especially when we can’t see a bit of it.
My husband often helps me with this for my blog and writing topics. He encourages me to wait until a life-lesson or season’s story is complete before sharing it with others. Not to hold me back, but for me to actualize and internalize the message to share the fullness of its experience; to have true wisdom learned from it.
Because everything is for your learning, including the darkest times.
I heard someone say God works in the night shift, and that helps me find rest and trust in God. During your darkest times, that’s when God does His best work. You may not see it, but that’s what it means to have faith. We can take everything as a growth opportunity, because everything is an ongoing process and a setup for our future seasons. The way we respond to things today will be the fruit of our lives tomorrow.
Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit and His role in our ongoing process: to lead us into truth, declare things to come, and glorify Christ. He doesn’t sugar-coat the sorrows of life, but says He will turn those into joy. Which is why, as believers, we can have the greatest joy during the deepest pain.
But this requires a confident humility, which means to be confident in your identity but still dependent on Jesus Christ. It’s having faith that He did transform you into a new creation, while also being aware of your current shortcomings and need for His grace.
A Confident Humility
Understanding this removes a false hope. Struggling Christians often hope for the day when they will laugh at temptation and there will be one effortless victory after another. We are promised struggle as long as we are in this world; yet there is peace in Jesus.(David Guzik)
When the disciples said, ah we get it now, in verse 29, Jesus warned them that there will come a time where they’ll get scattered. Apart from the foretelling of what would happen in the garden, this is a reminder for us that the moment you feel secure and certain that your faith is strong, may well be the very instant when you will get scattered, look to yourself, and take your eyes off of Jesus.
Because Jesus knew this, he forewarned them (and us) that when trials come; we need to take everything as an ongoing process in confident humility. As your faith increases, continue to give God the ultimate trust to lead you and guide you into all truth and provide you with the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7).
Your confidence in your strength of faith could very well be your shortcoming. Which is why humility is essential in every situation.
We’re not promised a picture-perfect life, but we are promised the Holy Spirit and the peace of Christ. With this, we can keep getting it after we got it. We can grow in our relationship with God and get stronger in our faith, no matter what we face.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
The world is broken and corrupted, and it will continue to break and get corrupted. But that’s why it’s different for Christians. Our foundation is firm and cannot break. Even though we walk through hardship and trials like anyone else, we have the benefit of living from God, with the help of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s Eternal Shalom.
Jesus did not promise peace; He offered it. He said, “you may have peace.” People may follow Jesus, yet deny themselves this peace. We gain the peace Jesus offered by finding it in Him. Jesus said, “that in Me you may have peace.” We won’t find real peace anywhere else other than in Jesus.(David Guzik)
How do you keep getting it after you got it?