What do all these things in the following list have in common?
At one time in my life I was passionate about each of them. I collected them and spent time and energy to “enhance my life and improve my well-being” through them. How is that for an over the top evaluation of momentary hobbies? Passions come and go. Some of our passions may have to do with recreational activities, travel, or musical preferences. Other times we may be consumed with healthy eating options such as tofu over beef and a seaweed smoothie over a shamrock shake. Nope, that is ludicrous. Does that reaction reveal a passion?
My point is that we all get excited about certain things at certain times. Are the things I’m most passionate about the right things to be passionate about? I believe there is a natural human tendency or pull away from the things of God toward things that keep us from freedom and significance in Christ. The Disciples were continually doing battle with Jesus regarding the way He was choosing to do things. The Twelve often expressed disdain for a Kingdom of God that wasn’t about traditional power and hype.
Oak Hill and every other congregation needs to make sure the passions of God match our passions. In our culture of shallowness, accumulation, “look at me,” “likes” and “hits,” we need to be different. Jesus has always been counter-culture and today is no different. Our call is not to have Jesus fit into our culture – our call is to present a “Jesus
culture” that is wholly other. We present something deeper that has the ability to deliver a foundational passion to every context in every age. This passion is simply living in response to what God has done for us. This is a life of worship that pours out the grace and truth that has come to us.
Corporately and individually we are invited by our God to live passionate lives. We were not created for lives of drifting, selfish comfort and insignificance. We were also not created for pursuing passions that in the end are empty. We are made in God’s image and that means we were made to be in communion with God Almighty. Jesus lived his days perfectly. His passion was crystal clear; God and people.
He did this through day-in and day-out relationships of time, conversation and love. All that Jesus did was other-focused and no one ever lived a more passionate life of significance. All of Jesus’ “side passions” like storytelling and hospitality were set in the context of God and people.
In our text this week [Acts 26] we see Paul also inherited this singular passion from Jesus that is God and other focused.
29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
May we also be people of Jesus’ passion,
Pastor Nick Mundis