Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeAll The NewsHEALTHY CHURCHES: Spiritual Passion

HEALTHY CHURCHES: Spiritual Passion

What are you passionate about? What causes your heart to beat harder? You can tell what a person is passionate about in several ways — maybe their voice gets louder, they begin to pound their fist on the table or their eyes well up with tears. Passion is defined as a “strong and barely controllable emotion.” It also refers to the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, focusing on His final hours. It is seen in Christ’s agony in the garden, where His sweat “fell as great drops of blood.” His passion nailed Him to the cross, where He suffered and died for our transgressions. Jesus endured the cross “for the joy that was set before Him.”

Passion has been defined as “a conviction that becomes contagious because it withstands the test of pain.” The passion of Christ was His willingness to suffer for us in order that we might have a relationship with Him. Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth (demonstrated) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Passion is the thing you are willing to suffer for; it is being able to endure anything because of the “joy set before you.” Paul told the Corinthians to not fix their gaze on their suffering and troubles they could see right then, but instead to set their focus on the eternal things they could not presently see.

What are you passionate about? What gets you out of bed in the morning with great anticipation for your day? Are you passionate about spending quality time in your secret place with Jesus? Are you passionate about being in His Word and allowing the Word of God to cause you to focus on sin to confess, commands to obey and/or promises to claim? Are you passionate about prayer and hearing what He has to say to you? Are you passionate for the privilege to worship God in spirit and in truth every chance you get? Are you passionate to share the love of Christ with others and introduce them to your Lord and Savior?

If you are not passionate about the things of God, why not? Passion is what fuels you and keeps you going. When your passion wanes, your spiritual energy and vitality will diminish. Your context is important (where God has placed you to have the greatest impact) and your ability is important (how God has uniquely equipped you to accomplish His purpose for your life), but opportunity and skill sets are useless if your passion for Christ is lost. God is the one who hard-wired you with certain inclinations. He teaches and shapes you through the sum total of all your life experiences, but your intimacy with Him is what enables you to last.

Here are some great questions for self-evaluation given to me in a training a couple of years ago:

• What are you called to do? Determine your life call and personal mission.

• Why do you do what you do? Is your life core based on your personal values? Then you can determine your life steps by developing a personal strategy.

• How will you do what you do? Now it is time to measure your life score with your own personal metrics.

• Are you accomplishing God’s purposes?

• Where is God taking you? You live by your life map which is your personal vision of God’s preferred future for your life.

Passion increases when you understand and pursue your special assignment from and for God. The main point in this process is not your fulfillment but rather God’s glory. Remember, passion is the thing you are willing to suffer for. Your church is worth that sacrifice. If God has called you there, then you must do whatever is necessary to increase your passion for your church and to remain passionate for her. One pastor said, “I strictly discipline all of my best thoughts and energy to help the church accomplish its mission.” Ephesians 5:25 tells us, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

Here is another process that might help you in developing your passion for your church:

• Write down five things you are interested in — you can list hobbies, food, etc. 

• Then list four things you are excited about — things like a vacation or a conference you plan to attend.

• List three things you are driven by — this could be a new book you are reading, different learning opportunities and family time.

• Write down at least one or two things for which you are greatly burdened — This is where it is very crucial. You are consumed with them, and you have a passion and willingness to suffer for them to change. Are you burdened for your church? Are you burdened for your family? Are you burdened for revival and the reality of not experiencing redemptive movement? Are you burdened that your church is not producing disciples? Are you burdened that maybe your church has lost her first love? Are you burdened for those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? The only thing worse than being lost is being lost and having no one who cares enough about you to be looking for you. Jesus said He had come to seek and save the lost, and you should be passionately looking for them as well.

Are you satisfied with your passion for God or would you like to see your passion increase and your relationship with Him improve? Are you willing to do whatever is necessary to see your passion for Christ increase? Are you going to spend whatever energy and time is necessary to get alone with Him in your secret place and to truly abide in Him? Would you be willing to pray this to God: “Showers of blessing showers of blessing we need; mercy drops ‘round us are falling but for the showers we plead”?