Lord Byron’s lines in The Countess of Blessington:
I am ashes where once I was fire,
And the soul in my bosom is dead;
What I loved I now merely admire,
And my heart is as gray as my head.
This is a lament. The danger of life is that it can rob you of life. It is almost an oxymoron in a sense, that as we live, we can often wonder if we are actually alive.
As we process life, even the Christian life, sometimes our obligations in life weaken our will.
There are three “to do’s” in life:
- “have to do:” things that we must do: pay bills, taxes, maybe church, traffic, dentist, doctor and more.
- “want to do:” things we may enjoy like vacation, recreation, stuff, pleasures or rest.
- “meant to do:” these fall for the believer in the lines of faith, what you are made for, willing to sacrifice for.
The positive of this list is that these are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes you have a job you want to do, or you enjoy what you were made to do. When all three of these “to do’s” are active in a person’s life, it is often that a Christian finds the greatest purpose in living for God.
In Jeremiah, he is a prophet of God, but he gets so frustrated that he almost “quits.” He had enough of all the sin in his day, being mocked and was tired of people not listening, but there was a problem: He found what he was meant for and he had to keep speaking.
Jeremiah 20:9 ESV If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
Jeremiah does not quit and though his life is difficult, he cannot stop. He must be the prophet he is called to be. The Christian life is intended to be challenging, fulfilling and marked by purpose and the presence of God, but today, we merely attend church, not truly believing Christianity would change us!
Have we lost the true intentions of following Jesus? The last thing I want to do is invite people to an empty religious life! Consider your heart for just one minute. Has it faded as Lord Byron states? Is Christianity your “have to,” or is it your “meant to?” Is there an unquenchable fire shut up in your bones when you are not where you should be or has the fire within you become ashes?
Don’t settle for admiring something you once were willing to live and die for.