17 July, 2006

Where Is The Passion?

As I was praying for my church a few days ago this question came to mind and the Lord began to speak to me about this. Yesterday I preached on this, yet the question still will not leave me, so I wanted explore this here to allow others input.

In Matthew 22:37-38 (MKJV) Jesus says,

37) Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38) This is the first and great commandment.

According to Scripture and the Lord Jesus Himself, the greatest commandment is this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” I have realized that while many Christians can quote this passage, say all the right words, do all the right things, go to all the right places, still there is something vital missing on the inside of their mortal being. Where is the genuine adoration and love of God that once burned within us? Do we really love Him with all of our hearts, all of our souls and all of our minds or have we created a watered down mixture that has become our own version of Christianity?

I believe many Christians today are lacking passion for Jesus. We have passion for our friends, passion for our pets and animals, passion for our computers and other realities of life, but where is our passion for God?

I find it amazing that some people are more consumed with the issue of whether or not their dog or cat will be in heaven than they are with their neighbor… or even their own family!

Why is it that most people would rather spend an evening watching their favorite television program instead of being in the presence of the One who died for you? Or they’d rather stay up late half the night playing on the computer and then miss church on Sunday morning because they slept in.

I believe many of us pray, read the word, go to church and serve Jesus out of obligation instead of passion for Him.

Passion does not operate out of obligation.
Passion operates as a result of agape love.
Passion loves and serves because it wants to, not because it has to.

Passion is an abandoned display of emotion such as love, joy, etc. It denotes strong feeling, fervor, enthusiasm and zeal.

Passion is serving God because there is nothing else that we would rather be doing.

I know that some may be offended by these words, but personally I am sick and tired of people telling me how on fire for God they are; that they are closer to Jesus than they have ever been before… yet they miss more church services than they attend. There is always an excuse, but the reality is, that if it were the most important thing in their lives, they would find a way to make it.
Those same folks make it to parties, to cook outs, to the things that matter to them… they just cannot make it to church. (Of course I am not talking about those who miss because of their job.)

The problem? They have lost their passion for Jesus.

Then there are those who claim to be on a spiritual high, walking above everyone else spiritually, so they no longer need to come to church. Or those who boldly claim how close they are to God, while all the while they blatantly live in sin and proclaim that God understands their hearts. The Bible I read tells me that God is Holy and cannot even look upon sin, so don’t tell me He is blessing your life while you flaunt your sin before Him. It just does not work that way.

The problem? They are more passionate about the thing or person they are sinning with than they are about Jesus.

The devil has successfully duped so many into thinking that God understands and condones their sin, so long as they tell everyone how spiritual they are. They believe they are glorifying God, while in fact they are making a mockery of Him!

Saturday, while I was praying at the church, the Lord spoke a word into my heart which I sat down and wrote and shared it with my church yesterday. I’d like to share it here as well.

This is what the Lord said:

Where is the fire that once burned so brightly within you, says the Lord.
Where is your love for Me?
Where have you been?
Where are you going?
What is more important than your relationship with Me?
I have missed you and have longed to be with you.
I have been calling you and you have not responded to Me.
I have been knocking at your heart’s door and you have not opened unto Me.
Why have you forsaken Me, saith the Lord.
Why are you neglecting Me and turning away from Me?
Have I not given My all for you?
Have I not laid down My life for you?
Have I not made a way for you to know Me in a personal way?
Do not be deceived by those who would draw your attention to other places.
Do not be deceived into believing a lie, says the Lord.
For I am the One who saves man from his sin.
I am the One who has the power to heal and deliver.
I am the One who has created you for Myself.
My Spirit grieves and weeps over you, says the Lord.
You have gone your own way and destruction awaits you.
Turn back to Me now, says the Lord, and repent while there is still time.
Turn your heart back to Me, and I will receive you unto Myself, for I love you with unconditional love.
Be not deceived by the wicked one, for he desires to destroy your soul in hell.
Turn to Me and repent of your wicked ways, for I long for your fellowship.

I long for you to seek Me, for when you seek Me with your whole heart, you will surely find Me.


8 comments:

David Reish said...

You hit the nail on the head. Passion and commitment seeminly go hand in hand. Some have lost their passion for the lost and replaced that passion with a passion for the next free event at the church. I'm always amazed at the ones who never attend a Sunday or Wednesday service but are the first ones at the door for the free thing the church is offering. These are the same ones who call the most, complain the most and are generally the biggest pains in the neck, if I can say that? The passion of the lost has been traded for the passion to complain about the pastor and try to fix things that aren't theirs to fix to begin with.

When the passion is gone, so to gone is the commitment. When the commitment is gone, so to is the deisre to change. When we cease to change, our effectiveness is lost. Here in lies the simple forumal to disaster.

Remembering the first LOVE, and then, and only then, will the passion return... not to do what we want, but to do what God has created us to do.

Sean McKee said...

Most Christians do not have a passion for God because they really do not realize what God has done for them or what the finish work of Jesus has saved them from. The cross is something we do not like to dwell on much and Hell is just some place that I'm not going to go to anyway.

At the community Good Friday Service the Pastor of the Nazarene church in Roseville spoke about 'lingering at the cross' (Crucifixion) before we rush on to the resurrection (Easter). We like to celebrate Easter but we do not dwell on the suffering and the sin OF OURS that put Jesus on the cross. There is no gratitude because we don’t think about the cost.

When we really realize the suffering that the God of the Universe suffered for us (while we were yet sinners) and then realize what that suffering saved us from (The lake of fire, outer darkness where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth), we will start to have a passion for God and will worship and service Him out of an undying gratitude for what He has done. We will have a burning desire to tell others about Him so that they will be saved from what we have been saved from.

Darrell said...

Excellent point Sean. Just yesterday we sang the hymn "Draw Me Nearer" at church, which speaks of the death of Christ and has the line, "Draw me nearer, near blessed Lord; to thy precious bleeding side." One young man in the church commented to me, "What a morbid song!" That really hit me, because I realize there is a generation that knows the blessings of God, but does not really know or appreciate the suffering of the cross.

Neil said...

Please allow me to pick on something Sean said about people lingering at the cross. Years ago I came across a devotion and developed a message on the subject "Close To the Cross, Far From The Christ!" The Bible says that as Christ hung on the cross that men gambled for His garments in the shadow of His death. I think we still gamble for His garments, we want the outward, manifest presence of God, but nothing life changing. True revival, true anointing, true relationship isn't about hanging out in the shadows, it's about dying with Him in order to get back up with Him!

Great word Pastor!

ruthrap said...

i believe everything you said, we all needed to hear. sometimes people find it hard to humble themselves unto the Lord and we do lose our passion and are distracted by mundane things in life far less important than our relationship with God........that's when we really need to search our souls and pray forgiveness and really seek after Him with all our might..thank you Darrell, Sean, Neil and David for the reminder.

Sean McKee said...

Revival in the church is what is needed. And that is not a service where we all get together and sing and clap and try to get God to do some dramatic miracle for our entertainment, but where God's people fall on their faces before God and repent of our sin and worldliness.

Till that happens we’re all just playing church.

Deborha's Palm Tree said...

Pastor...

I am reminded of Romans 1:21,

"Because that, when they knew GOD, they glorified HIM not as GOD, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." (KJV)
I have to ask, God, that you forgive your people. I repent on behalf of your people God!
I pray that YOU will draw your people to YOU by YOUR precious HOLY SPIRIT. That all fear and foolishness and vain imaginations will be cast down and loosed from each one. That YOU will pour out YOUR "Perfect Love" on us, because YOUR word says that" Perfect Love casts out ALL fear." For God your people are living in a fear-based society. People are being motivated by fear. So take what the enemy means for evil and turn it to good. God I am asking that your people would come to know the true "fear of the LORD". Cause their hearts to tremble at the mention of your name. To give YOU the honor and glory YOU deserve. That YOU will be a light unto those darkened and hardened hearts so that their hearts and minds would be renewed and restored. That YOUR church would rise up as the church YOUR heart desires. I thank YOU LORD that you hear this prayer. I thank YOU LORD for our Pastors and Leaders, Bless them LORD, Give them joy Lord, for in this is strength. In the name of Jesus ...Amen

A Bishop wife said...

I found this blog today when reading comments on Debrahs blog.
I will sure be back.

I too, worked in a treatment rehab for about a year. I Jesus healed my hubby and I of alcoholism 9 years ago. No AA required.

I find discouragement and sadness come into my life more when I have been out of fellowship with Gods people.

This is a very encouraging blog.