Maybe you’ve seen it. The guy is passionate about his football team. When he talks about them, he gushes with praise or bleeds with pain. He is all in! But when it comes to the things of God? Well, a yawn seems to be the leading response.
Reading the book of Acts does not give one the impression that the early church considered Christianity boring. Quite the opposite! Those believers had a passion for the gospel that drove them to purposeful engagement, meaningful worship and great sacrifice. They witnessed everywhere they went. They urged lost people to come to the Lord. They willingly gave their time, energy and even their lives. They were all in!
Here are some thoughts on how Christians today can become more passionate about the right things.
1. Remember who Jesus is and what he has done for you. Nothing affects your passion for the Lord more than a healthy understanding of what the Lord Jesus did on your behalf on Calvary. Think of this. The perfect son of God took your sin upon himself on that cross. He suffered and bled in your place. Jesus did for you what you could not do for yourself. He died, was buried and came back to life. He paid your penalty and he provided the means of your forgiveness. This is incredible!
The cross is the demonstration of God’s love for you. The resurrection is the demonstration of God’s power over sin and death. This is good news and reflecting on this truth will fire you up!
2. Spend time alone with Jesus daily. Want a passion pill? Well, I don’t know that there is one. But spending time with God in his word and in prayer works better than any pill could anyway. Practice regular time reading God’s word. Maybe you could underline things that really speak to you. Maybe journal some things that you want to remember. And then spend time talking with God in prayer. Tell him your needs and give him your worries. Pray for others and for opportunities to make an impact for God.
Nothing can replace time alone with the Lord. A regular devotional life (and other spiritual disciplines like fasting and scripture memory) will energize your growth and expand your depth.
3. Prioritize the things of God over the things of this world. Jesus tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Mt. 6:33). He reminds us to prioritize what really matters. There is nothing wrong with a hobby or sports or making a living. But Jesus does not tell us to seek those thing first. He wants us to make the main thing the main thing.
When we put secondary things first, we get the wrong focus and the wrong perspective. Our life is out of balance and we care most deeply about the things that don’t last. But when we prioritize the things of God we can get the rest of our lives in order. Put God first and all the rest can take its rightful place. And, you will find that your passion will follow your priorities.
4. Remember how short your time is. At the risk of being a downer, I want to remind you that you don’t have long to live. I’m not a doctor and can’t predict how long you have left, but I can assure you that it isn’t long. If it last a hundred more years, it isn’t long. Life goes quickly. You don’t have time to waste this year or this decade or this life. Passion comes from realizing how short those opportunities are.
But maybe you have good genes and your body would hold out a long time. Don’t forget that the Lord is going to return. Perhaps it will be soon. Perhaps very soon. We need passion because we have such a limited amount of time on this earth. We will never get these opportunities again. We never repeat this day when it is over. Do something with the day God has given you. Get after it!
5. Focus on eternity. I had a Sunday School teacher, back in the day, who used to say, “Some people are so heavenly focused that they are no earthly good.” But I wonder if it is the other way around. I wonder if those who most believe in heaven and hell are those who are most passionate about the opportunities of this age. I wonder if a focus on eternity doesn’t increase, rather than decrease, our present effectiveness.
I do know that we can have an unhealthy attachment to this world and the things of this world. I do know that focusing all of our attention on this world can keep us from remembering that we are made for something more; something greater. God made you for more than fun and frivolity. He saved you for something more lasting. Don’t forget that you have a home beyond this one and that God called you to something bigger and better. Passionately pursue that calling!
Passionate faith should be the normal setting for believers. When we rightly see God and his glory all other things pale in comparison. God put you on this planet and saved you by his grace for something more than a safe, comfortable and boring life. He wants to make an impact on eternity through your life. He wants to use you as a change agent in this present age. He made you for something good and great and wonderful.
There is nothing boring about that!