Burn With Passion

This week, passion has been on my heart.

It’s something I’ve written about before, but I want to share what the Lord has been speaking
to me this week.

My generation and the ones after mine talk a lot about “finding passion,” often in regard to a career path. Now, I don’t think that’s a totally new idea, but I don’t believe the generations before us spent so much time trying to figure out what they loved. Elementary school students are given career placement tests to try to get them on the right path. High school students are pressured to choose a college or career path that will set them up for success. College students agonize over what to study and struggle when they can’t find a passion. There’s such emphasis placed on the importance of what you do being something you love and something that will make you successful.

Now, I’m not saying that’s completely wrong, but it’s a lot of pressure for kids and even college students, who’ve never even had to try to provide for themselves. Often, it doesn’t work because the starting point isn’t right.

Passion isn’t something you can find.

Passion isn’t something you can create.

Passion isn’t something you can stir up.

We ask things like,

“What do I love to do?”

“What are my skills?”

“What makes me feel alive?”

The problem with that line of thinking is that there is only one thing we’re made to be passionate about and we’ll never find it looking in ourselves. God made us with purpose, and we’ll discover our destiny as we walk with Him, but we’ll never find it focusing on ourselves.

Jesus said,

“…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

Love has to be demonstrated in our lives to be complete, but just like passion, love isn’t something we can find or stir up. To love the Lord with all of our hearts has to come from encounter with Him!

In a spiritual context, we need passion for the Lord, but so often we try to demonstrate that passion. Have you ever found yourself trying to love God more? Have you ever felt dry and thought that you could fix it by reading more, praying more, or fasting more. Those things are necessary spiritual disciplines, but unless they are born out of passion, they’ll just be religious activities. We have to be filled, first!

Think about it. What group of people did Jesus rebuke most harshly? It wasn’t the adulterous, the idolators, the tax collectors, or the prostitutes. It was the religious leaders who had “zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2)

Matthew 23:27-28 says,

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

They had zeal. They spent more time in the temple than anyone else. They prayed more than anyone else. They appeared to keep the law and be perfect. However, like a tomb, they were beautiful on the outside, but full of decay.

Passion—zeal for God—cannot be created by doing religious activities.

Passion is something that has to consume us.

Peter, who denied Jesus to a servant girl after walking with Him for three years, stood up before a crowd of thousands only after being filled with fire from heaven. He was consumed with the Holy Spirit and then his passion drove him.

Paul, the most zealous religious leader on earth at the time, who persecuted Christians for God, was consumed with right passion only after seeing the face of Jesus.

See, we can’t put confidence in our own ability even to love God. As we fight the good fight of faith, we have to realize that faith; passion for God; zeal for the kingdom of God come only from being consumed by Him.

We have to ask for the consuming fire that burned on Mount Sinai. We have to ask for the consuming fire that came in the upper room. It’s the same fire that burns in the throne room of heaven and in the eyes of Jesus.

We will only know passion when we burn with the fire He carries. We can’t stir up passion to overcome our flesh. We have to burn until our flesh is gone and passion is all that’s left.

The fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:11) can’t be fought according to our flesh or willpower. Our faith will grow as we consume the Word and look into the face of Jesus. It’s not by might or by power, but by His Spirit. (Zechariah 4:6)

Passion isn’t something we can find in ourselves or create in our religious activities. Passion is born in encounter with the One we’re made for and there is rest in that truth. The Father is seeking worshippers who worship in Spirit and truth (John 4:23).

If we try to burn for Jesus, we’ll burn out, but if we get lost in love for Him, we’ll blaze with passion. As Paul said,

“For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh… Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection.” (Philippians 2:3-10)

Only what burns carries power.

It’s time for every generation on the earth today to burn with first love; to burn with the fire of God; and to burn with passion. Especially in these last days, the fire of God isn’t optional and it’s not something we can control. The fire of God must consume us. It’s the only thing that will keep our passion burning! As John Wesley said:

“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.”

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