Archives For passion

Christians these days seem to bend over backward to make certain they never offend anyone. We want to appear as being tolerant of all things and all people. This isn’t the way Jesus lived. He loved all people, but He never minced words when it came to calling out whoever or whatever stood in opposition to the character and holiness of God. I like how A.W. Tozer put it: “This generation of Christians must hear again the doctrine of the perturbing quality of faith.”

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The gospel of Jesus should perturb people.  It’s a call to a radically different life and lifestyle. It’ not okay when people flaunt their sin in the presence of God. It’s not okay when we kill in the name of Jesus. And it’s never acceptable to condone the sinful deeds of ourselves or anyone else. Leading with love, we need to not follow with tolerance but rather with perturbance. We need to live out our perturbing faith.

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I am hesitant to write this because I am paranoid and convinced (is that possible?) people will take this in a manner I do not intend. Still, the message is heavy on my heart, so I’ll ask you to please read this in the spirit it is intended, which is to further the Kingdom of Christ. It is not my intention to demean the laudable actions of others or to criticize any particular ministry. With the disclaimers out of the way, let’s begin.

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This past weekend I had the thrill and sorrow of attending a concert with about 10,000 other Christians. The love and ministry of the band were evident throughout the couple hours they played. It was an uplifting experience that encouraged and challenged me, and from which I took several action items. One of them was to write this article.

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G.K. Chesterton said, “Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” Wow. How often do we think of our relationship with Christ as a love affair? It is troubling in my own life to recognize I’ve got a significant way to go in this regard. I love Him. I’m in awe of Him. I’m thankful for His mercy, provision, and protection. But do I possess the kind of white-hot, unstoppable love we associate with a love affair? Do I wake each morning unable to contain my excitement to see and spend time with Him?

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Do I put off going to bed because it means less time spent in His presence? I’d love to be the guy who could answer in the affirmative to these questions, but I’m not. I want to be. In fact, it gets me excited even as I write these words. I want to love God with the love of a love affair, not of some dutiful worshipper.

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Passion is a popular topic in the personal development space (otherwise known as self-help). There are shelves of books promising to help you ignite your passion, find your passion, fuel your passion, or simply follow your passion. Essentially the message always boils down to the point of doing what you love. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether this is good advice.

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I’m more interested in seeing how it relates to our pursuit of God. After all, He’s the One who put such passions inside of us all. The question for me isn’t so much one of whether you should follow your passion, but rather, how can you use your passions to glorify God and further the mission of Christ?

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It’s a weighty thing to letdown the God of the Universe. Yet we do it every day. Of course, God in His infinite, unsurpassable, incomprehensible love would never tell us we let Him down. But we know it. We know it in our bones. We know it in our souls. We know it in our hearts. We let Him down. We failed Him. We acted in a way unbecoming of a child of the King. And we’ll do it again.

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The moments following a letdown are sobering and strangely clarifying. We see what we should have done and what we did not. We become aware of an opportunity missed, never again to be revisited. And we’ll do it again. How can this be so?

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In his book, “All Things New”, author John Eldredge writes, “Where we take our fantasies is a helpful way to know what we are doing with our Kingdom heart”. Which begs the question, “What is it about which you are fantasizing?” Said another way, when you daydream, about what are you dreaming? We go in the direction of the things about which we think. Indeed, we grow in the direction of the things about which we think.

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Our fantasies and daydreams reveal the deepest desires of our heart. Far from fancy or whimsy, and regardless of their implausibility, fantasies and daydreams reveal what we would be if we were God. What are your fantasies and daydreams revealing about you? Are they revealing a God-focused, others-centered disciple? Or are they revealing a prideful and self-centered individual?

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What does it mean to be a spiritual success? To some degree, we understand what success in the business world means. Financial success is somewhat obvious. We even know what successful parenting looks like. But what about spiritual success? A.W. Tozer said, “The laws of success operate also in the higher field of the soul— spiritual greatness has its price. Eminence in the things of the Spirit demands a devotion to these things more complete than most of us are willing to give.”

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I believe spiritual success is measured by our devotion to God. The trouble, as Tozer points out, is few are willing to put in the effort required to become what we would term a “spiritual success”.

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We should all want to be fierce followers of Christ. As a people, it seems Christians have lost a lot of the aggressiveness of those who came before us. For whatever reason, it has become fashionable for Christ followers to cower into passivity, doing whatever necessary to keep from offending anyone. This isn’t the life we saw modeled by Jesus. He wasn’t afraid to step on some toes when necessary. While he was the most gentle, caring, and loving person to ever walk this planet, He also possessed a sharp tongue and an intense passion for the truth.

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He didn’t let those who were perverting the truth slide by unnoticed; He called them out. Jesus pointed out what was wrong with the world and rebuked demonic influences in it. He was as quick to chastise those teaching false standards of living as He was to gently heal a person trapped in a life they did not want to live.

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What fears and excuses get in the way of you living on mission for Christ? What keeps you from living the life He created you to live? If Jesus was, at some point in your life, worth surrendering your life to Him, I’m going to assume you meant it. I will presume you do not wake every day contemplating ways to live in opposition to His Kingdom and His plan.

living on mission,mission,commitment,purpose,faith,gifts,passions,Kingdom of God,God's Kingdom,Luke 12:22-24,consider the lilies,Matthew 7:21-23,many shall call me Lord,depart from me

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My guess is you want to live your life for Him. You want to be the person He created you to be, because you understand you will never find true peace, joy, and fulfillment any other way. If all this is true, what are the reasons you have for not living on mission?

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Reading A.W. Tozer, I was struck by a passage he wrote: “It cannot be but a major tragedy in the life of any man or woman to live in a church from childhood to old age and know nothing more real than some synthetic god compounded of theology and logic, but having no eyes to see, no ears to hear – and no heart to love!” How many of us have become content with a faith in Jesus which provides nothing more than a ticket to Heaven?

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Worse yet, how many have settled for a Christianity which makes little to no impact on the lives of those around us?  Is the life we are living worthy of what Christ endured for us on the cross?

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