Passionate people will not stop talking about that ‘thing’ that makes life what it is. Down deep we may admire their commitment, but occasionally we might wonder about their sanity, especially if we do not share their love for whatever that ‘thing’ is. Often their passion makes them hard to get along with, doesn’t it? Among my friends there are animal rights activists, those into politics (left and right), musicians, artists, pet lovers … and they all think that everybody needs to care about that thing like they do. Then, there are those at the other end of the spectrum who have ‘given up’ on life. “Whatever” they sigh tiredly, apparently bored by it all. “Been there, done that” is their signature line. They are sad people, just existing.
Whatever you care about or don’t care about, there is one passion that is worthy, that needs to envelope the whole of our lives. Paul expresses it like this – “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” (Philippians 3:10-11, NLT) His devotion to Jesus caused him to travel thousands of miles to talk about the Good News, often with people who just wanted to kill him in response. He endured hardships – rejection, imprisonment, deprivation, shipwreck – not with a moan but with a song. We catch a glimpse of the passion that owned him; body, soul, heart, and mind, in these words. “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” (Philippians 3:8-9, NLT)
Which kind of Christ-follower are you; passionate or apathetic?
During the time of my wife’s awful and long terminal illness, when her needs were acute and demanded so much care, more than once people asked, “How do you do it, Jerry? Aren’t you exhausted?” Of course I was, sometimes so tired that I could not think beyond the next moment. But, my love for her far outweighed any demand she could make. It was a delight to care for her, to carry her to her bed, to comfort her. Was it hard? Well, sure, but, she was worth it! Love made any hardship seem insignificant to me.
We can love Jesus with passionate commitment and He is worth it! Moses called on God’s people to commit themselves. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-6, NIV) God’s ways needed to go deeper than a few ideas, they needed to be written on their hearts, the center of love. When asked what was the basic thing that God desires, Jesus referred to those ancient words. “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ (Matthew 22:37 The Message ) His love is extended to us, first. “While we were sinners, Christ died for us,” Paul says. John tells that “God so loved the world that He gave His Son,” to save us! Can we read those words and shrug? We can, but should not. Rather His love can stir a deep and holy passion in us. Get your heart into it! Do away with apathetic prayers, feeble efforts, and other affections. Seek Him.
Here is a word from the Word. “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:16-18, NIV)
Father, I am so thankful that you loved me when I cared nothing for You.
Win my heart again and again, for there are other ‘loves’ that catch my eye from time to time.
Draw my heart to Yours, my affections going beyond words and romanticism. Give me ‘one pure and holy passion’ to know You, to serve You, and to enjoy Your Presence eternally.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen