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Summary: Disciples must refresh commitment to serving from time-to-time. This is accomplished through renewal of service to the Lord Christ.

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For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” [1]

For many Christians, perhaps even for most Christians, the memory of immediate changes that accompanied the new birth lingers in the hallowed halls of treasured events. These blessed souls experienced a newfound joie de vivre that had not been known previously. Though she may not have been fanatical about the matter, the new believer wanted to speak openly of what God had done in her life. She knew that whereas previously she had been dead to the True and Living God, she was now alive—more alive than she could have thought possible. It was well-nigh impossible not to tell others, pointing them to the freedom from guilt and condemnation that she now experienced in Christ the Lord. That newborn child of God felt as though her mouth was bent into a permanent smile and she bubbled over with vibrant excitement at the thought she was loved not because of who she was, but simply because she was.

There seem always to be found among the churches individuals who appear to have been weaned on dill pickles. They so suppress any expression of joy that you would believe that were they to smile their face would break. Though these impoverished souls can laugh, they have no sense of joy. They give the impression that their primary purpose in life is to stifle any joy that a believer may express. I recall one such sourpuss who was present on a particular evening.

I was chairing an evangelistic crusade in a Canadian city. Each evening, many people were responding to the invitation of the evangelist. On one particular evening as I walked through the inquiry room, a young man was seated all alone, beaming and quite obviously excited. I stopped to speak with him at the invitation of the counsellor who had just led him to faith in the Son of God. He immediately began to speak of how excited he was because Christ had saved him. He was positively bubbling over and just could not be silent.

As we spoke, a pastor from one of the co-operating churches wandered into the inquiry room. He recognised the young man and walked over to hear what was being said. The young man immediately began to tell that pastor of God’s gracious gift and how excited he was because God had saved him. That dour denizen of darkness dressed in clerical garb, who likely had never had an personal encounter with the Living God much less knew if there was a God, patted that young man on the shoulder and said, “There, there, you’ll get over that.”

I could not contain my indignation. I exploded, “Don’t listen to him! He doesn’t know what he’s talking about! I pray you never get over this! God has done a wonderful work in your life, changing you and starting you on a journey that will lead to transformation into the image of His Son. Don’t listen to this man! Ignore him! And don’t bother going to his church—ever! He will steal your joy!”

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