I recently read in an article this statement: “If you want to be more passionate about Jesus, then study His passion for you.”
Passion can be defined as “a strong and barely controllable emotion.” Many in the state of Ohio recently experienced passion when watching the Ohio State football team play in the national championship game. O – H – I – O !! The surrounding events of the entire season came to a culmination in one game. They had persevered through injuries. They stood with one another through thick and thin. They faced many tests and won the season-ending contest. They shared a passion to be number one.
Though most of us did not personally know one player or even attend Ohio State University, we shared their passion to persevere and win. Our hearts were racing fast as we would watch our team score. Our emotions were saddened as our opponent from Oregon would score. Our feelings within us were stirred as we shared a passion with those on the field to win. There were a couple moments during the game I would tell myself to settle down. My outward bursts and inward butterflies had no bearing on the game, yet it did no good to attempt to suppress my desire to see them win. I found myself eating grapes faster than a crow would pick sweet corn off the cob, all because I had a passion within me for “my” team to win.
For those who are getting a bit nervous thinking I am going to rebuke you and , of course, myself for these emotions, you can just relax. I don’t believe there is any harm in enjoying an earthly contest. The Apostle Paul spoke of people running races, and I am sure he enjoyed the contests of his day. In fact, he would learn spiritual truths from those events. Solomon wrote that “every man should enjoy the good of his labor, for it is the gift of God” (Eccl. 3:13). I have been involved in many sporting contests in my lifetime and enjoyed them while getting the needed exercise for my body. I have experienced many victories and many defeats in those contests. Both can be needed learning experiences for life in the natural realm as well as the spiritual. But one essential key is never to allow the passion of those contests to supersede the passion for Christ. That principle not only applies to sports, but to anything or anyone in life that you may have a passion for. We should not have any idols before our God. He is a jealous God and rightfully so. He must be our first love. He must be our foremost passion. This is not only a spiritual truth that will keep Him in His place on the throne, but it will keep us in our place as His servants as well. Many passionate believers in Christ have fallen when their desires have changed to earthly passions.Once again, enjoy the earthly contests that do not contain anti-biblical characteristics, but never allow them to subtly remove your passion for Christ.
Another definition of passion is “an ardent and enthusiastic love.” Once again, this definition of passion can apply to things or activities or people. I loved watching the fourth quarter of the National Championship Game as OSU pulled ahead and won the game. There is a country song that says, “I love little baby ducks, old pick-up trucks, slow movin’ trains and rain. I love little country streams, sleep without dreams, Sunday School in May, and hay.” Tom T. Hall was making a point that we can love the simple things in life and I completely agree. It is vital that we enjoy life because it is short.
But there is a love that is far deeper than any love that we can have for the things in life. There is a passion that God desires us to have for Him and only Him. God spoke it to Israel in Deuteronomy 6:5, and Jesus spoke it in Matthew 22:37: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind.” That is passion. It is the foundation for our life. I love Him because He first loved me. If you want to be more passionate about Jesus, then study His passion for you.
One thing that will turn our passion from Him to other things is forgetfulness. We cannot allow ourselves to forget His passion for us. Let us come full circle back to the infallible proof of God’s passion for us as we remember Jesus on the cross. “Greater love (passion) has no man than this, that a man would lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). “God commendeth and He clearly shows and proves His love (passion) for us by the fact that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For God so loved (was so passionate for) the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). We can never fully repay our Lord for the passion He has shown us, but we are never to ignore it either.
Jesus said in John 15:16, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” He first proved His love and passion for us; now we choose to live a passionate life for Him. Pure praise and worship will come out of passion for Christ. Powerful prayer will come out of passion for Christ. Being a fruitful witness for Him will come from living a passionate life in Him. So many put the proverbial “cart before the horse.” Proverbs 4:23, “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance, for out of it are the issues of life.” The passion that is kept in your heart for Christ contains all the necessary issues needed for your life. Read Matthew 6:25-34 with the principle of a passion for Christ in your spirit and then you will understand that “seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” is a principle of passion.
So, as usual, we come to the end of a devotional searching our hearts to see what or who we are passionate about. Maybe you won’t find anything. Maybe you will find many things. Don’t just look at your bank statement and your calendar to see what you may be passionate about , but look at your heart. Be honest and sincere. Then ask Holy Spirit to reveal the necessary adjustments to be made to make your passion for Christ priority. The great thing about Holy Spirit is that He doesn’t just reveal the changes necessary, but He helps us perform them. If you want to be more passionate about Jesus, then study His passion for you. Take a look at “the passion of the Christ” for you and you will develop “a passion for the Christ.”
Though we can be stirred toward the enjoyments of this world , there is nothing more essential to our lives than a passion for Christ. The enjoyments of the world are temporal, but the joy of the Lord is eternal. Whether the result of earthly contests are victories or defeats, we are “more than conquerors through Jesus that loved us” and is passionate for us. (Romans 8:37)
“Holy Spirit, we open our hearts to You now to stir a passion within us for Christ. Empower us to be passionate for our Saviour and let that passion stir the hearts of others as well. In Jesus’ name.”
Stirring up the passion for Christ