Keep Me On Fire: A song about pain turned into passion

Darrell Tan // May 16, 2018, 10:22 am


Growing up in a harsh environment where performance was measured and comparisons made in both Church and school, I entered adulthood filled with self-condemnation and doubt.

For a long time I lived with thoughts like: “Anything done right and good should be kept to myself, if not it’d be seen as pride,” and, “Your faith is meant to be kept underneath your sleeves. Don’t be so ‘extra,’ lah.”

And even before recording Keep Me On Fire, I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. Negative thoughts and feelings of inadequacy threatened to quench the fire in me … But that only spurred me on to finish the song.

“In the last days, God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”” (Acts 2:17)

The word “vision” is derived from the Hebrew word chazah – to perceive or to foresee. On the other hand, the root word of “dreams” is chalom, which often refers to prophetic dreams or dreams that give a revelation of God and His plan or purpose.

Both words are destiny-related. Therefore, we cannot afford to stop at a dream or vision. God has also called us to respond in obedience (2 John 1:6).

When God gives us a glimpse of our destiny, He also reveals to us gruelling, sometimes painful or even sacrificial “next-steps” with a call to deeper intimacy and surrender. Taking those next-steps are what activating our destinies entails.

God was decluttering and detoxing my inner man in order to turn pain into passion.

As an educator serving in a Campus Ministry, my heart burns for youth and young adults to find the answer to their emptiness and inadequacy in Jesus.

But often when I am just before I am about to act on a next-step, be it a business or a ministry plan to activate a God-given vision, something tends to crop up to hold me back.

Once, I found myself particularly discouraged by a sense of failure. I was overwhelmed by how the education mountain seemed insurmountable. It was then God showed me how inclined I was to depend on my own effort.

Even in those instances, God was decluttering and detoxing my inner man in order to turn pain into passion.

As I continue to reminisce and look back on my young adult journey, I also recall seasons when the passion that God burnt in me propelled me into the next phase to do His will.

There were victorious moments when a dream became far too big for my rational mind to comprehend and I stopped churning out permutations of what might’ve been, to simply carry out by faith what God had said will be.

Keep Me On Fire is a compilation of all the conversations of inadequacy I’ve frequently had with God. It is a testimony of how He has kept my passion burning. My prayer is that this song activates destinies and ignites a passion for Jesus. Giving up is not an option. My fire will not be quenched. Neither will yours.

We need to be a generation that is perpetually passionate, relentless and unstoppable in making our God-given dreams a reality. We cannot be like fireworks, bursting onto the scene for a brief moment, only to fizzle out into the horizon.

A vision may point you in the right direction, but it is passion – a passion for Jesus – that will propel you forward and keep you going.

Darrell is the Campus Director at 3:16 Church. He is also an education consultant who trains teachers and mentors students.