Good morning my friends. How are you doing this morning, seriously? Days and weeks of hard work and trials can leave us feeling a bit beat up and warn out. Maybe it is a little harder to get out of bed this morning, to get moving into your day, to turn to prayer and the Word. By the way, how is that passion going; you know, that passion you have felt for most of your walk with Christ? It can sometimes take a beating as well and fade with a bit of time. Sometimes we excuse the fading on age and maturity, as if the older you get the less passionate you are suppose to feel. Passion is passion and we feel it if we are 18years old in the same way we feel it at 88 years old, if we do not fade. We are great at fading. We start off well but often we finish poorly, if we finish at all
As we turn to 1 Timothy today, this is the verse that stands out for me in the first chapter as I am sure it stands out for most people:
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. vv. 5-6
Take note of this, Paul said to Timothy " I remind you to fan into flame". Often I hear it prayed and I pray it myself, "Spirit, stir it up in my heart", whereas Paul is reminding Timothy to do it himself. This is in the same sense of when God told Israel:
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
Israel could not sit back and expect to be rescued, especially considering that they were in exile due to their lack of passion for God. He required effort from them in the relationship, that they would seek him with all their heart. Does that ring a bell for you? Does it cause you to think of another passage?
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Not with a partial bit but with all, all, and all. Most of us started off with Jesus in this manner, with a passion that consumed us. We ate, drank and slept Jesus. We wanted the whole world to find out about him. Some will tell you that it is only natural for such passion to calm down but I disagree. It may be natural to our flesh but we are no longer controlled by our flesh but instead we are controlled by the Spirit. The reason passion fades is because we allow the flesh to start creeping back in. You know I am right. You don't even need to examine yourself closely to know I speak the truth because you have always known the truth, you just haven't bothered to doanything about it. That is the reason we ask the Spirit to stir it up because we are too lazy to do it ourselves.
The fact is many of us have been taken away into captivity again, not by God's choosing but instead because we have allowed it to happen. Our flesh has crept in over time as we neglected our relationship with Jesus. Why is it hard for you to find the time and make the effort to study his Word? Without passion priorities shift and things take too much effort.In this matter I don't even have to ask you to open your eyes because you already see it.
Why did David sin against God with Bathsheba? Was it because he neglected his duty as king when he should have been off to lead the army? No, he neglected his duty because he neglected his passion for God. As he did this his flesh took over and his desire shifted from God to self. Have you read his great song of repentance lately?
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:8-12)
Don't caste me away from you God! David had tasted intimacy with God but he had allowed his passionate love to fade and now he risked losing God all together. David was seeking and pleading with God with all his heart, all his passion once more.
What about us? Without a passionate love for Jesus time will just continue to allow it to fade until we are in worse condition than when we first encountered Jesus. We need to start some fanning. You need to remember who you are and whose you are. For far too long we have allowed the Lord's adversary to lie to us about our condition as much as we were lying to ourselves. We are not weak and powerless concerning the work of the Lord, regardless what the enemy wants us to believe. When we are passionate about our faith it is incredible the things God will do through his people. Paul reminds Timothy:
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Much of the work belongs to the Lord. The victories are his, it is him who overcame the world, and it is him who is responsible for our transformation; but the passion is our responsibility. Perhaps you don't know how to get it back. You could start by seeking his face with all your heart. Worship him sincerely not just as the music moves you. Worship him in prayer without music. Worship him in action. Worship him in dance. Worship him in voice. Think of all the great things he has done and of the mystery that has been revealed to us and stir up that passionate worship in you. Give him the priority of your time. Give him your first thought as you wake up and the last as you put your head upon the pillow. Dig deep into his Word. Listen more intently to the Spirit. Allow him to become your "everything" again.
Your passion should never fade. Stop lying to yourself and turn away from the whispers of the enemy. Love Jesus with everything you have to give to him! If you need to, take your heart captive and force it to seek the face of God. What seems unnatural now will become natural once more and the passion will burn in your veins.