Passion isn’t just about lust or sex, though that is what some think when I use the word. Passion is ardent love, abounding enthusiasm. Passion makes a person do ‘crazy’ things! It’s much more common among the young than the old. Usually those with the most to lose in terms of wealth or reputation are more guarded in their expression of passion, carefully concealing their desires and/or dreams. I know I risk offending some of the more sensitive among my readers by using that slang term, ‘crazy.’ Please give me some latitude, as I’m not making fun of anyone who struggles with mental illness, OK?
Anyway, back in 1992, a man named H. Ross Perot (remember him?) launched a run for the Presidency as an Independent candidate. He got almost a fifth of the votes cast in the general election! He was driven by a dream, a passion to change the nation, that was so unrealistic that he used the old Patsy Cline song, “Crazy” as his campaign song for several months. It was a great way to state the obvious – “this campaign flies in the face of all expectations, a quixotic effort. You see, Perot was the anti-candidate. He wasn’t telegenic, nicknamed “hand grenade with ears” by those outside of his campaign. His voice had an irritating squawky tone and a Texas drawl. He was terribly plain-spoken, folksy, and simplistic. But he had passion, plenty of it. (It didn’t hurt that he tons of money to finance his own campaign, either!) He didn’t play it safe and millions admired him for his ‘crazy’ passion to be the President of the United States!
Are you passionate about anything? Now, a follow-up – is that about which you are of strong emotion or abundant enthusiasm really worth your passion?
Many who claim to be Christ-followers, live a calculated experience of little risk; a dutiful ritual, practiced at minimal involvement, with the hope of gaining a guaranteed entrance to Heaven – at the moment of a hopefully far distant death. In other words, they are ‘buying’ a kind of eternal life insurance policy. I don’t know many people other than insurance agents who are passionate about life insurance! I know I’m not. Of course, I send my premium payment faithfully, month by month, but I am not in any rush to file a claim. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my policy, re-reading it, or going over how my surviving family will use the funds that the company promises to send them when I die! I just make the payments to keep the policy in force.
Sometimes I get the feeling that ‘insurance’ is the concept that many people have about Christianity- making the ‘payments’ to keep the ‘policy’ in force, for that inevitable appointment. Jesus said something quite different! Here it is –
“A religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus.
“Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”
Jesus answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”
He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence— and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”
“Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”” (Luke 10:25-28, The Message)
Jesus was not suggesting that any of us can ‘earn’ a place in Heaven with good works, no matter how passionate we may be about them! He was pointing out that passion is required to really know the quality of life now that will lead us to a forever life with God! Jeff Vines says, “There are plenty of passionate people in this world. But what separates us from an erroneous religious system which dominates our worldly culture is not our passion, but our truth. Passion does not determine truth, but truth of Christ when authentically and genuinely embraced always results in passion.”
When a Believer has really taken hold of God’s grace, when the Spirit has shown him his sin and God’s love, the seed of a passionate love is planted in that one’s heart. Jesus acknowledged that when a woman who had been given back her life, forgiven and restored from a life of depravity, came and poured her tears on His feet, wiping them with her hair. The self-righteous ones in that room pointed out her disgustingly passionate behavior. Jesus told them that the real problem was their own lack of a sense of need! He then observed, “She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.”
Are you a little crazy for Jesus?
Do you know what He’s done for you, let that love touch you deeply so that you live radically for Him – loving Him with ‘all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?’
May God deliver us from our dutiful, risk-free, religious rituals. May the Holy Spirit cause us to love Him in a way that does not calculate risk and return, that causes us to abandon ourselves to the pursuit of Him so that we will enter into forever life right here, right now!___________________
This is the air I breathe,
This is the air I breathe,
Your holy presence living in me.
This is my daily bread,
This is my daily bread,
Your very word spoken to me.
And I, I’m desp’rate for You.
And I, I’m lost without You.
© 1995 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing (Admin. by Music Services) CCLI License No. 810055