Check your heart
I think before anything else we need to pray, to ask God to show us anything in our lives that doesn’t honour Him, repent of everything that comes to mind, and make sure God is at the centre of our focus.
Remember the good times
It really helps to look back on those times when we were excited for God and think about: what was going on then? What were the circumstances? What was our spiritual life like? I always think of these verses in Revelation:
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works
It says to remember from where we have fallen. What were we doing then that we should be doing now? Or what has come into our life that wasn’t there then? Maybe something good has become an idol and come between us and God?
Be prepared to amputate
Some things that have come between us and God are good things, and we just have to lessen our hold on them. But there are other situations where we may need to be more radical:
Mat 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
There have been times in my life where I realised something was causing me to sin, or even just dulling my love for God and I realised that the best thing for me was to get rid of it completely. I once deleted all my characters that I'd put time into making in an online computer game because I realised it wasn't good for me. I also threw out all my CDs with love songs when I was single as I realised they were making me think too much about boys when I should be focusing on God!
Sometimes it is the best option to get rid of something totally so that it has no hold over us anymore.
Refocus on God
So often we get off track and start to love our ambitions more than God, or our comfort, or money, or entertainment, or even ministry! We need to think about where our focus is right now. We need to get God back at the centre of our minds and lives so that we are loving Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
I have seen so often in my life and in other people’s, that when we get away for a day, a weekend, or a week and just focus on listening to God, on Bible study, prayer and encouraging fellowship it can be life-changing. I think just like if we are trying to listen to someone talking while we’re watching TV, we can’t really concentrate on what God is trying to say to us very well when we are surrounded by life’s busyness.
When I was at university I would often cycle to a nearby village and sit on a rock by the estuary just to pray. Because I had come all that way, and it was quiet and away from everything it really helped me just to focus on what God wanted. Other times I have been away on a camp or retreat and God showed me things which if I hadn’t been so dumb I could have realised a long time before that!
Recommit and get back to work
Things may be really hard in our lives, but we need to get to the point where we realise what God has called us to do and go ahead and do it, not looking at the circumstances.
It is really helpful to write down what God has spoken to you about what you need to change, and then figure out a specific plan for how to implement it. Otherwise you may never do anything different.
Along with making quality time for God daily to read my Bible and pray, something else that has helped me keep on track before I come way off it is to regularly read inspiring books, or listen to inspiring sermons. This keeps me in a place where I am excited for the things of God.
Some great books to read for this are missionary biographies. Some of my favourites are the biographies of Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael and Isobel Kuhn but there are many more of course. Also devotional books by people like A. W. Tozer, Oswald Chambers and some of the old ones like ‘The Imitation of Christ’.
My favourite preacher to be inspired by is Charles Stanley – I nearly always come away from his preaching wanting to know more of God, and all his sermons are free online.
Many of these ideas come from listening to an excellent sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley which you can hear at In Touch audio archives if you have 25 minutes to spare. You just need to enter in the year 2010 and month October, and search, and the sermon should come up. It is called ‘Rekindling the Flame of Ministry’ from Oct 22nd 2010. It is intended for Pastors but has great advice for everyone.
I hope this will encourage you not to give up hope of getting back to where you used to be. It is possible and life is so much better when we are close to God.
‘Our flame will burn the brightest when we are fully surrendered, fully dependent, fully trusting and fully focused.’ Dr. Charles Stanley
Have you any other tips on reviving your passion for God? Have you an experience of getting back to where you once were? Please share in the comments below if you'd like to.