LET'S HAVE SOME FUN!
In my previous post, I suggested that every desire or passion is not necessarily from God. Passions can be merely passing feelings or whims which come and go. These passing passions do not accomplish God's will for our lives or His Kingdom purposes!
When we do surrender our own passing desires to God, and submit to His perfect will for us, God does give us legitimate passions and inspiration to do His work.
The question is: "Do these legitimate passions result in a consistent state of unwavering "bubbly enthusiasm" to fulfill God's calling?"
Let's see what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians!
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.
I believe it is safe to say that Paul had a great passion to preach the gospel!
Yet he wrote of the Christian life in terms like "hard-pressed," "perplexed," "persecuted," "struck down" and even "death!"
Paul's passion did not necessarily result in trouble free living, overflowing in every moment with constant emotions of joyful enthusiasm.
Passion, like joy, can be described more accurately as being an attitude or mindset which lies below the surface. Sometimes it may bubble up and manifest in outward emotional displays, similar to the shouts that erupt from football fans when their team wins!
Other times, passion may not be seen outwardly. Yet inwardly there is a fiery, burning determination to do God's will. In the midst of the most difficult trials, the passion within motivates that person to continue pressing on!
The stories of Christian missionaries and martyrs often recount not only the joys of their ministries but also intense pain and hardships.
Hebrews chapter 11 recounts some of the great stories of victories for those who followed God - but it also speaks clearly of the difficulties encountered by others!
35 ...Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment.
37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—
38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
The chapter tells us of the harsh outward circumstances endured by some. It speaks of torture, violent death, lack of comfort in clothing and even at times, homelessness! Those who endured such hardships were not any less godly than those who accomplished great victories!
It also speaks of the emotional state of these godly men during these great trials, using words like tempted, destitute, afflicted and tormented.
Even with all of these hardships, discomforts and emotional stresses, I don't believe for a moment that this latter group had any less passion for God that the former who experienced great victories with God's help!
David danced before the Lord with all of his might when the Ark of the covenant was brought into Jerusalem!
Yet that same David wrote many Psalms such as Psalm 6 which revealed his inner distresses!
6 I am weary with my groaning;
All night I make my bed swim;
I drench my couch with my tears.
7 My eye wastes away because of grief;
It grows old because of all my enemies.
Was David's passion only active as he danced before the Lord? Or was he just as passionate about God as he wrote these heart wrenching psalms in tears and anguish?
In the American church, passion is often represented as an obvious outward display of fun and enthusiasm. Those who don't have bubbling over, entertaining personalities are labeled as not having passion. They are advised to get out of there seats and show more passion like the others.
But the passion of those who are persecuted, suffer greatly or even die for the sake of the gospel is often revealed, not by their outward enthusiasm but by a quieter relentless determination to do God's will!
We all have different personalities. Genuine worship can certainly be displayed outwardly and more directly and by those with extroverted personalities. Perhaps we have taken our cues from hollywood when determining the level of one's passion. We embrace the exciting personalities of "stars" and extravagant fanfare and consider anything less to be irrelevant.
Passion for God then is not always a "FUN" activity that we thoroughly enjoy doing at every moment of every day without exception. There may be times when it is NOT FUN AT ALL!
Some who have genuine passion for God may shout or do cartwheels. Others may stoically submit to suffering for His name's sake without any noticeable accompanying hoopla!
THE ONE THING THEY WILL HAVE IN COMMON IS A DETERMINED COMMITMENT TO DO GOD'S WILL!