Bring back the passion
I'm a very passionate person. I run hot, I say what's on my mind, and I have a strong will and plenty of conviction. For me, this life I've been graciously given is about diving-in, going deeper, expanding, learning, growing, and listening to this wild God who has captivated my heart.
Compared to eternity with Him, life on earth is just a blink of an eye - maybe even less - and I'm not cool with spending that time playing church, going through the motions, or charming my way through life using the "Christian" label all while missing out on the adventure of a lifetime with the lover of my soul. I've got work to do and I've got a really big God to know. So, the label isn't enough. Going to church isn't enough. Meeting with my small group and simply talking about God isn't enough. Identifying with a specific religion isn't enough. Studying the word but never applying it is just. plain. not. enough.
I am chasing after God in pursuit of a daily encounter with Him. I want to know His heart well enough that I know where He is leading and what He is doing so I can be about His work. This fire in my spirit gets me into trouble with other Christians sometimes and that's okay. I'm rarely understood and I'm learning to be okay with it because I'd rather be passionate about Jesus and misunderstood than apathetic and coddling a false sense of comfort, safety, and loyalty.
And, you know what? PASSION is totally biblical. You want proof? Just open the Bible to any page and read for five minutes or less (well, maybe skip Numbers for this example). Any person who made any sort of difference in scripture was full of zeal and conviction. Without passion, they wouldn't have put themselves in position to have God use them to slay giants, part seas, build arks, dance naked in worship, and survive fires or the dens of lions. The overwhelming theme of the entire Bible is not passive love, but PASSIONATE LOVE. God created the heavens and the earth from passionate love, Jesus was crucified for our sins out of passionate love, and the Holy Spirit lives in us for the purpose of passionate love.
And it's not just a biblical theme, it's a commandment... and not just any commandment, but Jesus says it's the most important commandment: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Matthew 12:30)
There is a huge difference between loving something and loving something with every fiber of your being. I mean, I love pizza... but I don't love pizza with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength (even though some days it might appear that way).
Furthermore, scripture gives the following instructions: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Did you catch that? Scripture tells us to do everything for the glory of God. All of it. Our whole lives. EV.ER.Y.THING. Not a moment to go to waste. What is that going to require of us? A passionate love for HIM.
I love how Christine Caine puts it when she says, "I am a great believer that zeal for the House of God must consume us. You do what you want out of passion, but you do what you have to when it is an obligation. Nothing is as destructive to leadership as a loss of passion. When we are driven by obligation, we simply go through the motions of a religious experience instead of ministering out of the overflow of a passionate relationship with the living God."
Wow. Now, I don't know about you but I much prefer a passionate relationship than a religious experience. Why? Because a religious experience is limited to a time or a place or an idea or a tradition. A passionate relationship is ongoing, constant, alive, and follows us wherever we go
But, when I look at many churches across America, I see a whole lot of religious experiences, obligatory participation, and passive love. We are existing with Christ but not thriving and what this lost and broken world needs is a church that is thriving - one in which non-believers would look at and say, "those Christians - they are crazy in love with their God and they are wild about loving people... maybe they're on to something." Unfortunately, what they are often getting is a whole lot of nothing special, nothing inspirational, and nothing that evokes any sort of intrigue because the depth of our faith isn't causing us to live any different than anyone else.
How is God truly going to use us when we only give Him our "yes" while at a certain location at a certain time on a certain day with people just like us - and even then, when we're not willing to loosen up and express our hearts there where it's safe?
In 2 Chronicles 16:9, we learn that "the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."
FULLY. COMMITTED. Not, I'm all in until I'm at home in private or I'm all in until it requires me to sacrifice or to be interrupted or uncomfortable. He wants passionate lovers who are fully committed... and it comes with a promise: He will strengthen us.
So, how do we just become passionate? How do we flip that switch if we're not already there? I think Havilah Cunnington put it best when she said, "Stop trying to love God more. Find out how much He loves you and His love will give you a hunger to love Him back!"
I just love that! Want to love God passionately? Just take some time in prayer and scripture to really find Him. When you find out how much the Lord loves you, you will not be able to help but to love Him back! You'll be a passionate lover simply out of the overflow of love that God has poured into you!
So, I don't know about you but I am all in. He has me. And I don't care how that makes me look to anyone else. I don't care if my worship is perceived as too big, too charismatic, too radical, too illogical, too irresponsible, or too whatever to the world. I AM IN. I AM DOING THIS. Come hell or high water, I am madly in love with and living for HIM and you all are going to know it.
"FROM THE TIP OF MY TOES TO THE TOP OF MY HEAD, THEY'RE GONNA KNOW I LOVE YOU!
FROM THE TIP OF MY TOES TO THE TOP OF MY HEAD, THEY'RE GONNA SEE I'M YOURS!
THERE'S A LINE AND I'VE CROSSED IT. SOME WOULD SAY THAT I'VE LOST IT.
BUT WHO CARES WHAT THE WORLD THINKS?! I HAVE FOUND MY JOY!"
God, I give you my dreams. You see my heart. You see the things that make me come alive. You see my desire to bring Your Presence into this world. You see my longing to introduce people to the fun, adventurous, life-giving, life-changing, miracle-working, passionate worship-worthy God. You see it, You know it, and I have faith that one day, in your perfect timing, this desire will no longer be held back. This heart-cry that I've had for decades will take flight and soar! That you will use me in ways even I couldn't dream up if I tried and that all of the time I've spent with you in the secret, quiet places of life will have given me the strength and ability to do Your work in a way in which You get all of the glory, all of the honor, and all of the praise! I trust You. You are who You say You are and You'll do what You said You'll do. You have begun a good work in me and You will be faithful to complete it. I claim it, in the name of Jesus Christ - my Savior, my Friend, my Everything. I AM PURSUING YOU WITH PASSION AND NOTHING LESS.