“By no means does the bible tell us to gauge our spiritual lives solely (or even primarily) based on our feelings. It’s a reality in the bible that we will go through seasons of pain, doubt, failure, feebleness, and loss. Not every second of our lives will be exhilarating, news-worthy, record-breaking happiness, and excitement.”
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
— Jeremiah 17:9
Christians love clichés. Maybe the one you’ll hear most often, especially amongst youth groups, is being “on fire.” But is that just something we say, or does it actually mean something? Before this steps on too many toes, I need to be clear that I don’t consider using this term a sin or anything of the sort. What I am asking is simple: is the phrase, and the accompanying attitude, biblical, or something less than that?
What It Typically Means To Be On Fire
You’ll hear this phrase plastered on the A-list Christians. Most often, people will be referring to the ones who:
– Donate millions or moving overseas
– Sing loudly at church
– Post their devotionals on Instagram often
– “Feel God’s presence” a lot (or talk about it, at least)
– Have just gotten back from summer camp and are on their spiritual high
However, as much as we may hate to admit it, being on fire really just comes down to feeling.
Feeling like you are good with God. Feeling like the singing at church is awesome, feeling like prayer is really going well in your personal life. Feeling like you are close with God.
Are any of those things necessarily bad? No.
Does our relationship with God, and the vitality of it, often produce emotion in us? Yes.
Does our relationship with God, and the vitality of it, necessarily produce the same positive feelings in us all the time? No.