A key to church growth is the level of passion at which faith is lived out amongst the members of the church. It’s about practising faith with commitment, joy and enthusiasm.
I really enjoy reading the book of Acts. The excitement of the Holy Spirit descending at Jerusalem, Peter’s passionate preaching with three thousand people becoming followers of Jesus Christ. The account of the growth and spread of the church, the exploits and adventures of some of its most influential leaders, the hard times they faced (ok, that part isn’t as enjoyable). These stories fire me up and I think YES!!!!! Let’s have some of that here.
But what was it that kept the disciples going in the face of hard times and persecution? What was it that kept them preaching the Good News of Christ in many nations? What was it that drew people to them and the churches that were being established? I think it was because they had seen and experienced a new way to live which they couldn’t contain and were passionate to tell others. A life that would bring transformation now and eternal life in the future. They had encountered Jesus, the giver and sustainer of life. They went about practicing their faith with commitment, joy and enthusiasm because they knew this was a better way to live than they’d experienced to date. We could say they were passionate about their faith.
Passionate Spirituality is a phrase which is being spoken of a lot at present, by speakers at conferences, in books etc. But what does it mean & how do we get it? I think “practicing our faith with commitment, joy and enthusiasm” is a good way to explain it. Another way is to say it is “what runs through our very core, our inner most being as a Christian” or “if you cut through any part of me, Jesus is what you will see”.
I think we all want to be passionate about our faith although at times we may not feel it. Why? May be we’re tired, wearied by the stresses and stains of life, which result in our reading of the Bible and praying diminishing or stopping all together. Yes, we still love God but we’re just running on empty so can’t give any more. In fact we may be in survival mode and trying to reach for anything more would push us beyond exhaustion.
If you are in this place don’t get discouraged because what we sometimes go through is common to most Christians. In John 6 after Jesus had fed the five thousand, he went to the other side of the lake and talked bluntly to the people saying “you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
Jesus goes on to say “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” In other words he is the true bread from heaven, through him life comes. And a passionate faith can only come through a God-filled life.
If we’ve lost our passion how can we get it back? By loving “the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength…” In other words giving him everything, every part of our lives, no exception. Will it cost? Yes. It will cut across our wills and wants. But the rewards for drawing closer to Him completely outweighs any sacrifices in what we watch and do. If we want to have a faith that inspires others, a faith that burns so brightly within us that others see it no matter how hard we try to hide it, then we must fill our lives with God by abiding in Him. There is no other way to passionate faith.