what do we want, really – part three

greetings, patient readers, and a “contented new year” to you.  thank you for the brief hiatus (at least it seemed brief to me) from my duties here.  i accompanied my bride to a convention in orlando.  the weather was delightful and i took advantage of the opportunity to “unplug.”  i had not intended to cease from blogging, but when we arrived in florida i was suddenly overwhelmed by a tsunami of apathy (i can occasionally become quite committed to indifference).  fear not, i have returned.

i have a pretty hefty backlog of things we need to discuss in this space–things that i promised we would talk about.  as always, however, i invite you, my intrepid readers, to drive the conversation.  we will address topics that captivate our attention, and move on to something else when we get bored.  let your voices be heard!

in a recent post, i wrote:

it seems to me that there are a lot of christians being christians (i.e.: going to church, carrying their bibles, doing other christian-type things), but very few christians being passionate followers of jesus (i.e.: cultivating mentoring relationships, living lifestyles of worship, being sacrificial).  so here are my questions:

1.  why do you think that is?

2.  what can we as the church do about it?

3.  is there something that i as a church leader can do to facilitate passion?

as always, i received some insightful feedback.  my kentucky buddy, john, suggested that, “perhaps some of that passion is there; it just may not be overt.”  and he reminded us that ghandi admired the teachings of jesus, albeit from a distance.

kevin said, “My firm belief (mostly through personal experience and observation) is that most people lack passion because they have walked away from what they WERE passionate about to try to be passionate about what others said they SHOULD be passionate about.

andi believes true passion comes out of personal commitment, while jason contends that sound doctrine is what is most needed.

having just finished our series on peter’s seven virtues (2 peter 1:1-9), i have been freshly stirred by the striking simplicity of authentic christianity.  peter describes it as “grace in its various forms” (1 peter 4:8-11).  i agree wholeheartedly with a comment andi made.  she said, “I HAVE to get out of the mentality that my ‘passionate’ relationship with Jesus is…one more thing that has to be tended to. It has to go beyond that.”  do we somehow believe–way down deep inside–that grace is insufficient?  that there is something, some effort, that we need to add in order for grace to take effect?  on the contrary!

i confess that i am driven to distraction by what i perceive as a lack of commitment (in myself and others).  i desperately want to be effective, but i am incapable of measuring “effectiveness” accurately because i consistently misdefine the term.  according to jesus himself, an effective man is one who “remains” in him (john 15:1-8), or one who loves jesus and his neighbor more (mark 12:28-31).  how much more?  just more…always more.

is anyone else frustrated?  do you suppose some frustration is a propellant to our spiritual pursuit?  can frustration be used by the enemy to paralyze us?  over the next few days i want to discuss more about what i learned in our 2 peter series.  

today, though, i want to appreciate grace more.




2 thoughts on “what do we want, really – part three

  1. There is a song I am enjoying right now called “The Motions” by Matthew West, and am definitely convicted by the chorus:
    I don’t wanna go through the motions
    I don’t wanna go one more day
    Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
    I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking
    What if I had given everything?
    Instead of going through the motions

    While my theoretical desire is to fall ever more in love with God, I agree with you about being frustrated about lack of passion in ourselves and others.

    Perhaps a combination of your friends’ comments is correct? If you have sound doctrine upon which to base a steadfast and growing faith, you can follow your passion (which God gives to us), whether it’s children, the homeless, the environment, evangelism, or whatever. Maybe when we join God where He’s working in the areas we’re passionate about our faith and abiding in Him grows ever stronger?


  2. Oops, meant also to say that I believe frustration leads us down the wrong path and is not a spur to increase spiritual fruit. I think it either leads to apathy ‘cos you just can’t care and keep getting hurt/frustrated (so futility sets in); or you get cynical and sarcastic [points madly to self].

    I think it was Hybels who wrote a book on Holy Discontent, where he describes how you can take what most really annoys you and use it as your passion and work for God.


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