The stories Christians like to talk about and teach our children are stories of passion.
- David topples a giant with a sling and a stone.
- Paul wears prison chains proudly as his bling.
- Mary trusts the angel’s word about a virgin conceiving God, and finds her life by giving it up for his purpose.
- Daniel would rather face hungry lions than give up praying.
- Jesus endures humiliation and crucifixion, full of painful mercy, because it glorifies his Father.
How intense is your passion these days? Can I challenge you to turn it up a notch? And here’s how.
Stop being so nice. I read in one of my devotions the other day that this is a problem. Really? I haven’t stopped thinking about it.
The devotion encouraged me to think again about my greatest aspiration as a Christian, and that too many of us think that it is this: being nice. Not offending anyone. Getting along at any cost.
Especially in today’s cancel culture, we might swing the pendulum too far and make this our goal. Being nice. Being agreeable. Being passive. Instead of passionate.
David wasn’t nice to Goliath, and for that matter, really wasn’t nice to the Israelite soldiers sulking in fear. “Why aren’t you guys doing something about this pagan, cursing God’s name? Who cares if he’s 9 feet tall?! We have God on our side!”
Paul wasn’t nice to the early church leaders who insisted that we are saved by works. He called them names in the very Holy Scriptures we revere (e.g. Galatians 3:1).
Now, Mary, she was nice, right? Yes, as any mother is nice, but then again, she got a bit bossy with Jesus during the wedding reception at Cana. And bore the deep pain of knowing her son was also God’s Son on a mission to die.
In that same chapter (John 2:17) the Bible says, “His disciples remember that it is written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’”
Zeal. That’s passion. It caused Jesus to toss merchants out of the temple one day, overturn tables, and stand on a soap box to preach about the real purpose of church.
Yes, be kind. Yes, be loving. Yes, restrain sinful anger. But, for God’s sake and glory, go after your passion, friend. Find it. Kindle it. Practice it.
You’re going to need it in days ahead. Regardless of your past, you can begin anew today. Jesus is head-over-heels excited about you doing that. The angels erupt in joy when you repent and ,fully forgiven, you renew your passion.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, your passion is hot and holy, and I pray for the same passion as I follow you in faith. Help me find the balance between gentle goodness and courageous convictions. Thank you for people in my life who model these well. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Think about this for a few minutes. How passionate you are about other causes like sports, hobbies, your opinions, healthy disciplines, unhealthy habits, people you’re in love with, etc. These passions, compare them to your passionate faith in God. What’s holding you back from more passionate faith in God? Would others call you passionate about God? Commit to baby-step improvements. Pick just one spiritual practice, or a favorite Bible verse you want to memorize and use all the time, or someone you need to forgive, or getting out of bed and spending quiet time with God consistently. Go after it. Ask Jesus to lead the way and give you his Spirit. Picture yourself a week from now, looking back, glad that you made the effort.