Being On Fire for Christ Again

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on fire for God

Have you ever found yourself at a place of mediocrity in your Christian walk? Our newest voice Kristian shares her story of how God brought her out of such a season into a life full of passion for the Lord.

 

“So Kristian, are you a Christian?” For anyone who knows me, my name is the perfect aptronym for who I am. Right along with Olympic sprinter Usain “Bolt,” weatherman Dallas “Raines,” and NBA slam dunker Tim “Duncan,” I put the “Christian” in Kristian Cloyd growing up. But as a young adult, seeing things in my life not falling into my perfect plan, I realized just how out of tune I was with God and His requirements for my life and purpose. I had let my “good name” (pun intended) and reputation of being a “good Christian” do the heavy lifting, while my inner self kicked back and made me into a lazy Christian. In my eyes, I wasn’t the prodigal daughter returning to their Dad’s house after a period of debauchery; I was the daughter who never transgressed against their Dad, yet didn’t understand why I wasn’t rewarded for being the “better” daughter of the two.* But how could I bring new life and purpose into my ongoing Christian walk— how do I become on fire for Christ again? It wasn’t until I took a hard look at my life and long list of excuses I had of why I wasn’t excelling that I was able to ignite my fire for Christ.

As my name suggests, I was literally born to be a Christian. I was the first child born to my very young parents— who got married at 21 and had me at 23— and they were super on fire for Jesus God’s Word. They had become Christians themselves a few years prior and had recently joined a new, hip mega church that taught the Bible in a way they could relate. Because of their veracity for the Word of God, I was immersed in Christianity as well; I asked Jesus into my heart at the age of two and was quoting chapters in the Bible before I started kindergarten. I became a member of my church at the age of 6, got filled with the Holy Spirit at 8, was baptized at 9, and did volunteer work in my church nursery; all this before graduating from elementary school. On top of that, I also went to the Christian school on my church’s campus, so not only was I the example of a perfect little Christian; I was the example of a perfect, committed little church member.

This was a similar story for the majority of my age group at my church. We were the “mega-church” babies who were fed with extra scoops of Jesus since birth. At first, this life was great—I had all my friends at church and at school; we would be at all the same church picnics, conferences, outings, and we could praise and worship God without anyone thinking it was weird. And then, puberty came along with its insecurities in middle school and it wasn’t as cool to be a Christian anymore. I was focused on my Christian walk and serving God and my church, as was the duty of my namesake, but there were only a few friends who were on the same page.

Then the coup de grâce of all rebellious years, the teenage years, came. Kids were no longer just trying to be “cool,” they were trying to be bad; teens were rebelling against their parents and sneaking off to do things my innocent little heart couldn’t bear. My network of friends who were “good Christians” got even smaller, as I even became a social pariah at my Christian school because I didn’t want to go against God’s Word for the sake of “having fun.” I was fine with being alone in my walk— that’s the thing leaders were made of, right?—but I saw God through the eyes of my church, and when the conversation changed for teens at church, so did my enthusiasm for God.

My church— like most churches—zeroed in on the issues of sex, drugs, and alcohol for their youth ministries because most teens in their church were being led in that direction. I can’t even count how many youth meetings and conferences I went to where the conversation was only about “staying away from sex, drugs, and alcohol.” There were the cautionary tales of Christians living wildly and having to pay the price… There were the multiple alter calls for teens who were sinning but wanted to come back to Christ… And then there were the plethora of Christian “hip-hop” concerts happening every other month to lure in the heathen kids… This wasn’t wrong for churches to do, as I’m sure a lot of teens were reached, but I could not relate to any of these messages because I wasn’t interested in that lifestyle. It made me feel like I was a pariah in my own church now too— I was too Christian to be accepted by peers and too Christian to be ministered to at church. I became jaded to God’s Word and didn’t pursue anymore of His wisdom. Thus began my decline from a Christian on fire for Christ, to a mediocre Christian who was doing “better” than most Christians her age.

My new persona of being “jaded” Kristian spanned from the end of my high school career, through college, and into my adult years. I felt like I had enough Christianity in my spiritual bank from being so on fire for God in the past that I could pantomime being a Christian: I was still involved at my church, though my heart wasn’t in it; I still read the Bible and went to Bible Study, though I didn’t retain most of the information; and I was still seen by family, friends, and peers as a “super Christian,” though I knew I wasn’t. I was fooling everyone but myself and God, and I would validate living on my plateau by thinking of all my Christian peers who were living crazy lives and doing much worse than me—at least I weren’t like those people.

It wasn’t until several months ago that I started to see how my mediocrity in my Christian walk was affecting literally everything in my life. I felt stuck at my job; I was going out with friends and significant others, but not building meaningful relationships with them; I lost all my big goals, and the small goals I did have I was too afraid to go after them; I was jealous of friends’ successes and felt mediocre in all aspects of my life; I was consumed by social media, gossip blogs, and the comfort in food, and sleep (though I still love the last two heehee). I would tell myself I would read the Bible more and prayer more, which I did, but because my heart was not genuine, I fell back into my old habits (as we all do). What had happened to me? I used to be super ambitious and on top of my goals and my Christian walk was rock solid. But now? I was as Christian as I needed to be to keep up my “image,” but my spiritual lacking was eating away at my confidence, and God’s purpose for my life was a distant memory I wasn’t even sure I was ready to revisit.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to do something. So I started trying out different churches, thinking that my church— where I had been since birth— was the problem, and that finding a church that fit me would solve my problems and get me back on fire for Christ. I went to a number of different churches— some for the better, some for the worse— and what I gained was not a new church home, but instead a witnessing of Christians who were passionate about Jesus and loved and worshiped God with their whole being. I forgot people still did that.
In all my inner projections of Christianity not being worth all my life and energy, I forgot how powerful and electric God’s love is, and interacting with Christians from different churches reminded me that there are so many channels God works through, and it doesn’t matter if you are a new Christian, or born into Christianity; God’s fire is for EVERYONE. I felt great seeing different forms of worship and church outside of my own experiences, but I still wasn’t feeling that fire kindle under my mediocrity to produce a “new” Kristian; what would it take for me to get my Jesus groove back?

I was still trying to figure out how I could have the same fire for Christ that I had when I was in my youth, though I was still holding onto my bad habits of mediocrity, when I decided to go to one of my church’s Young Adults bible studies. One of my mentors was leading the study that night, and she spoke on the subject of “igniting your fire for Christ,” the VERY thing I was searching for in my own life. “This is perfect,” I thought to myself, “she is going to tell me what to do to ignite my fire for God so I can stop being a mediocre Christian!” And then the minister said; “Whatever you want in your life, be that.” She said to stop looking to have the same feelings of “fire for Christ” that you had in the past— you were never going to have those same feelings again—instead be on fire for Christ and you will attract other people like you and the “fire” will grow and spread. I was floored at how I had spent years projecting my lack of success in Christ and in life on the outside world, when all I had to do was “be.” Be on fire for Christ, and He will ignite me.

Everything else that was doing to find my fire was not wrong per se, but it all started with me, Kristian. I needed to be a real Christian and not just act like one. Growing up, my Christian life and church life were intermingled, and I did fall victim to being a “good enough” Christian to pass in church, but not in my life. I knew God’s purpose for me was greater than my state of mediocrity, but I was too scared to act on it until all my excuses were staring me in the face, as I was in control of my ignition the whole time. It didn’t matter that my upbringing or life decisions weren’t as bad as my counterparts, it matters that I serve God and live for His purpose alone. Of course, I still make plenty of missteps in igniting my fire for Christ, but I know that my progress and my fire lives in me and is as strong as those who have had enlightening moments in Christ, or not. As Christians, we are all responsible for igniting the fire for Christ for the world, and I will not let my laurels get in the way of me serving my purpose.

Having “Kristian the Christian” as my tagline is fun, but being “Kristian the Christian” in my words and actions is what I know God will love!

 

-Kristian “the Christian” Cloyd

 

Jude 1:21

21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (NIV)

 

Image Credit: Flickr -Daniel Ebersole

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