The Liquid Quarter Mile Publication
“Chaplains Blog Book … IHBA Finals … Part II”
Jim & Linda Jack
“Passion” is an intense emotion about an object of admiration, or an ardent love for something or someone coupled with strong enthusiasm. Drag boat racing is a great example of passion. This diverse and avid group of racers have an incredible passion for deriving inner pleasure while participating in motor sports on the water. They don’t do it for the money... they do it for the love of the sport.
Life produces passion for many things; family, friends, music, racing, animals, food, work, art, our spirituality, and living a long life. Obtaining a passion for God can begin with a verse like the one found in Psalm 42:1 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” Pants…dehydrated desire for something (water or God). Streams...life (spiritually) flowing through a believer. Water…physical (or spiritual) refreshment. Soul…the heart (inner life) of a human being.
The Psalmist reflects a dramatic and refreshing perspective. God is the focus of his dependence and desire as he likens himself to the deer that depends on water to survive (not like a camel of his day that could go three months without water). His pressing need is to simply experience the presence and pleasure of God in the depths of his being.
The Jews of the Old Testament had often found themselves in “exile,” far removed from the presence of God. Remembering the days of worshipping God in the temple, now far removed from God, he feels the loss and longs to experience God again. He resists the temptation to fill his life with empty promises of the local, temporal gods of wood, stone, and metal. His heart is thirsting and yearning for the true God.
Passion energizes you: A passionate person with limited ability may outperform a passive person with great ability. Passion overcomes fear: As long as there is passion, people will go the extra mile, take some risks, and work hard to succeed. Passion drives you: Until you find what you’re looking for. “If you…search for [wisdom] as for hidden treasure, then you will…find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:4-5).
The passion of Christ’s heart was focused on the will of the Father, He loved each disciple that was with Him, but a greater love consumed His heart, and that was a love that drew Him to obey His heavenly Father. Christ’s days were all about teaching, training, and spending time in the Temple, and His nights were all about being up on the mountain spending time with His Father. His passion drove Him day and night!
Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there’s an eternal hope that can’t be quenched. The will to live is strong, so we should develop a strong determination in our hearts to grow our love for the Lord. Political passions and personal goals should be put aside—becoming secondary in our passion pursuit. We must acquire an insatiable desire to know God and to do His will.
What stirs the passion in your heart? Does knowing God touch your innermost soul? Do you ever find yourself longing for Him? Eventually you should come to a point in your life where He alone is the most important thing.
True passion for God requires an investment in things of eternal value. A conviction and desire to know and experience God’s love beyond all this world has to offer. Consequently, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Oswald Chambers said of Paul who wrote this letter, “He was recklessly abandoned by God for one purpose—to proclaim the gospel.”
It was an intense time of testing and waiting for Christ’s disciples after His resurrection. Waiting does have a purpose; it prepares us for greater blessings. In waiting—our true passion for God is revealed; either sticking close or stepping away.
There is a formula for gaining a passion for God. “I have found David ... a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). Do you enjoy your daily time with Him? God Himself works out your plan, if you let Him. He’s the One responsible for introducing the heart-felt desire to know Him, but we must respond. A humble heart devoted to God is the start of real dedication.
For David, prayer and worship were the catalyst for his passion. Prayer and worship lets us experience true communion, allowing our heart to open up to Christ. Real satisfaction can be found in places like Psalm 42:1, “As the deer pants for the water ...” That’s why it’s important to always go to God in every situation of life. God is committed to hearing from you. He loves you and wants to restore any parts that need fixing…physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual.
Spiritual growth begins in His presence. Please find the time or make time. God will utilize this time to teach you principles from His Word. Scripture says that with God a day is like a thousand years. Some simple math [1000 years divided by 24 hours] reveals that one hour spent with God is equal to spending over forty one years with him…that’s how much He loves you.
A growing passion for God leads to steadfast faith. Even in difficult times, God strengthens you. Even in failure, He’ll shape your life to become a blessing. Passion can be found in an eternal embrace when your hearts passion is located in a loving Savior.
Jesus had passion: He agonized in the garden; when carrying the cross; and being nailed to it. His passion for His disciples described in Luke 22:15 (KJV) really tells us how he felt about them (and us). “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” Jesus had “an incredible passion” for His disciples…then and now!
The requirements for developing a passion for God are a desire to serve Him according to His will…not your own. A willingness to serve Him with the gifts and talent He has given you…not your own. A willingness to function through His power…not your own. A desire to keep the focus of your life set on Christ…not the world.
When the apostle Paul received his sight, he received spiritual insight into the Person and passion of Jesus Christ. “Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again” (Acts 9:18). The abiding characteristic of the spiritual man is his concentrated passion of the life of Christ. Never allow anything to deflect any insight into Christ.
Evidence of a growing passion for God includes: An increasing desire to know the Lord on an intimate basis. A desire to obey God that supersedes the need to fulfill personal desires. Repentance the moment we become aware of sin (not just sorry like Judas who betrayed Jesus). Disobedience hurts your heart. A growing passion to live for Christ. A passion that motivates you to love and worship Him. The desire to seek the Lord’s will for your life, not rushing just to do the “right” thing. The acceptance of God’s desired plan for your life. Maintaining an eagerness to passionately discover who Christ really is…Savior, Good Shepherd, Bread of Life, True Vine, Strong Tower, Great Physician, King of kings, and Lamb of God.
Complacency—resting on what we already know has no place in the Christian life! We should demonstrate a steadfast commitment to Christ that passionately influences our worship, workplace, family, friends, home, entertainment, and finances too. Christianity is a lifelong pursuit with no shortcuts. We should make knowing Christ our highest and most passionate priority. We should attempt to lay aside other passions that may interfere with our relationship with Christ. It’s a small price to pay for the blessings and favor in walking with God. So, who do you see when you look into your “spiritual mirror;” an ardent believer or a lukewarm deceiver?
With anguish of soul, the Psalmist expresses his thirst for God as he faces drought in his heart. In a personal way, he allows us to look deep within himself. We capture an image from nature, as the life of the deer depends on water, so our lives depend on God. Seeking and longing to understand Him, especially in the heat of battle, or when we’re feeling separated from Him. We should long to focus only on Him, drinking deeply and finding refreshment for our souls. The remedy for being spiritually thirsty is remembering to put all of your hope in God.
By day the Lord directs His love towards us, at night His song is with us to bring comfort and assurance of His love and presence. Everyone’s heart is laid bare and open before God. How open your heart is, can and will, have a bearing on how effective your spiritual life is.
The passion of God’s heart is wrapped up in loving and caring for you for eternity! Keep in mind, success equals passion with practice.