Thursday, May 26, 2022

            People are often passionate or excited about a variety of things.  Some people are passionate about their hobbies.  Others get energized going to work and completing the duties of the day.  Some people have a favorite team that they follow.  Some people enjoy music or movies and the artists that produce them.  Isaiah spoke of his passion for God in chapter sixty-four of his prophecy.  We read the following from Isaiah: “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!  As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you!” (Isaiah 64:1-2).  Isaiah was practically pleading for the Lord to reveal Himself and to make Himself known to Israel and the surrounding enemies of Israel. 
            One of the qualities we find in Isaiah’s life is a passion for God.  You may remember the stirring vision he had of God earlier in Isaiah 6.  He said, “Here am I.  Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8b).  In today’s verses from chapter sixty-four, Isaiah called upon the Lord to come down and even to shake the balance of nature in coming down.  Have you ever had a passion for the Lord that consumed you?  Have you ever desired for the Lord to visit you in some stirring revelation?  If you had a ten-minute meeting with God, what would you say?  What would you ask?  What would consume you?
            Today, we often find a passion for God missing and even lacking in the places where you would expect to see it the most—churches, individuals who profess to be Christians and families that fashion themselves to be spiritually healthy and whole.  The good news is a passion for God can be kindled or even rekindled.  We can fall in love with Him every day.  We have His Word to read and explore.  We have prayer where we can speak openly and freely.  We have the opportunity to gather with other professing believers to worship and praise God.  We have blessings that we can use to make Him known to others.  We have a gospel we can share.  We have a faith story we can offer.  The only thing that may be realistically lacking is a personal will to be passionate about the Lord and to do whatever we can to know and grow in Him.
            Paul was so passionate about the Lord that he stated in Romans 9:3 that he would willingly give up his life and his ministry within the Kingdom of God if such a sacrifice would help Israel come to the perfect knowledge that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah and the one true Lord of creation and life.  Would you be willing to give up your life so others might know the Lord and His gracious gift of salvation and life?  The apostle John was so passionate for Christ that he would spend his final years alone and in exile on the isle of Patmos.  John said plainly that he was alone on Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 1:9).  What comforts or benefits would you forego for the glory of God and so that others might come to know the Lord in a loving and saving way?
            We cannot outsource a passion for the Lord.  No factory can make this for us.  There is no exchange whereby we can buy, sell or trade a passion for Christ.  We cannot live off of the passion of our ancestors.  But we can develop a passion for Christ that moves us to do things we might never even consider in human strength alone.  In Poland recently, I saw ordinary men and women taking incredible stands of courage and faith in making sure food is provided to the hungry, hope is offered to the weary and a hearty welcome is extended to those who have left horrors and nightmares behind in the only world and life they had ever known.  When we are passionate about knowing Christ, then we become passionate about serving Him and reaching out to those who are separated from Him or have no relationship with Him.  May the Holy Spirit awaken and inflame within us a passion for Christ and a passion to love and serve Him.  And may that passion become our reason for living.  Have a wonderful Thursday!  And as we approach the Memorial Day weekend, may we give thanks to those who serve or have served our nation in the armed forces.  And may we, with gratitude, humility and thankfulness, remember those who gave their lives that we might be free to pursue a passion for the Lord.    

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