There are (sometimes odd) ideas, thoughts or feelings that pop into my brain. In most recent years I have learned to curtail most of those feelings and put a stronger filter on my words.
The reason I tell you that is because I am in a new season of my relationship with God in which I am realizing how much damage I have done in the past with them. If it entered my head it came out my mouth...usually in the way of sarcasm, poking uncomfortable fun at myself and fiery darts filled with venom at others. There were (and sometimes are) days that it was exhausting being me.
Thankfully God’s desire is that we never STAY that way - and let me add that He desires for us to be constantly evolving. Why do I believe that? Well, because God Himself is never ending - we can never out-think, out-love, out-give, out-do or out-know the things and person of God. He is indeed a deep well of mystery. In my mind, since we are created in His image and He created all good things and is control of all good things - He not only has the sole authority, but the ability to change us from the inside out as we, by our own free will, choose to follow Him. To CHOOSE to change, to CHOOSE to forgive...as we CHOOSE to love.
From those choices, He brought me to a word - passion - that describes how I am falling in love with Him. To be passionately in love with God, who I can not see or feel in the natural.
Does that statement make you uncomfortable? The whole idea use to creep me out...to be passionately in love with God? It happened one Sunday...we sang “How He Loves Us” and the verse that made me squirm (and on several occasions leave the sanctuary) was “...so Heaven meets Earth like a passionate kiss...” - I’ve also heard “sloppy wet kiss” and my mind simply couldn’t process it. I also had to deal with - it just didn’t seem right to “fall in love” with God. It seemed wrong and disrespectful and quite frankly - impossible. Why? Because I was filled with some seriously twisted ideas, thoughts and beliefs about love and passion because of the ways and choices in which I lived my life up to that point.
The good news is that God restores all things. I am learning how to think differently...to understand how His love is perfect and is nothing like the flaw-full human variety. Today I sing the song with a new freedom and without shame. And He helps me to define what true love and passion look like and feel like. In the past few days my heart and head have come to understand that a true intimacy with God will not be burdened with shame. There is indeed a learning process to it (because of who I am and how I learn...which I think is very common to all humans), but to know that God created and filled me with a passion and the capacity to love & live greatly with freedom and that is what makes me come more alive.
So all of THAT leads me to say...
“Today’s blog is brought to you by the word PASSION”.
A good and right passion. Living passionately and being passionate denotes action - it's never passive. In your life, when you seek Him out He’s going to call you to action - to “put you in the game”.
I love Francis Chan’s analogy of this concept from “Forgotten God”. I’ve taken a a little liberty in the details of sharing the football huddle analogy, so bear with me (grrrrr) and forgive me.
Imagine it’s Friday night and the stadium is filled with hundreds - nay thousands - of screaming fans wanting with all their being for the home team to have a victory. The score is tied during the last few moments of the game.
The coach knows the play he wants carried out.
He knows the team knows the play from their countless hours of practice in every type weather imaginable.
He knows that even though the play is hard, that there is a unity among the players that will ensure if they work together, they will gain the victory they are looking for.
He brings them in for a huddle.
He can see the sweat pouring off their faces, their bodies are bruised and exhausted.
And he can see the question their eyes hold....”Coach - what are we going to DO?”.
In the moments that follow he reveals the play...the plan. The players instinctively know that it’s the right thing to do. They know the victory is theirs. Their minds are resolved and they confirm the play step by step, player by player.
They yell “BREAK” with so much enthusiasm that every spectator knows the outcome of the game before they have even taken the field again so they begin to shout out words of encouragement and victory.
Imagine yourself standing in that huddle...and you suddenly can see the victory that is to come! You can actually see how it’s going to play out before the first step is ever made! Imagine then that you pile hands with your teammates and yell “BREAK” and the coach says - “Great job! Alright take the bench.”
Wouldn’t part of you be in shock and awe? “Coach - what do you mean? You...you want the whole team to take the bench? What about the final play? What about winning the game Coach? We have to play in order to win - we can’t sit on the bench and still win!”
Can’t you understand their emotions and confusion and defeat? If we don’t do what we know we can do and should do, the victory simply can’t be ours. And I believe God leads us to that point in our lives when THAT is indeed a reality. We can no longer sit still in our relationship with Him, in our relationships with others, in anything that we put our hand to. He knows the plan, He has fully equipped us to be able to win and NOW is the moment He’s calling us to get out there and claim the victory that is ours...NOW is the time for action!!
So let me revert to the days of my unfiltered mouth, but filter it with grace. Let me say what I came to say without repentance or regret:
PEOPLE...WE ARE MEANT TO LIVE A LIFE, JUST NOT “EXPERIENCE” IT...LIVE IT!! THIS REQUIRES YOU TO TAKE ACTION - PLAY, HUDDLE, BREAK, AND PLAY AGAIN!! GET OFF THE BENCH AND MOVE!!!
In a life spent with Christ - in developing your relationship with Him - there is a good portion of our lives - dare I say ALL of our lives - where we are called to action. We are called to be key players, not spectators. As part of this amazing team we’re not called to sit on the sidelines and wait for the victory - we’re called to claim it - to work together using the gifts and strengths unique to each of us, and GO-FIGHT-WIN!!
I’m here to be your cheerleader today...to give you a “tool” of sorts that hopefully leads you to ask - Do I live my life with that kind of “we have to play in order to win” passion?
I’m reading Mike Bickle’s book “The 7 Longings of the Human Heart” and I came across a sentence that made me stop to ask the very question I just asked you. In chapter 6 Mike makes the statement:
“God imparts to us the power to be passionate”.
God - the creator of the universe
imparts - makes known to us, communicates to us
the power - the ability
to be passionate?
Really? What does that look like? I find myself saying that a lot lately - God, I don’t understand “this”, but what does “this” look like? How does “this” manifest itself when I am walking out my day to day life? God - what does “me living passionately” look like? I’m converting to my Word Nerd persona and pulling out all the stops for this one. I feel He led me to discover and define what being passionate looks like and what it requires of me to do...remember we are being called to action!!
Passion implies that my feelings are intense - strong & deep. Rooted in Him. Rooted in His power.
Passion is fervent - it displays the emotion. Not being afraid to love. For it to be apparent. I liken this to if you were thinking good thoughts and feeling you love someone, but never expressed it...God gave us many gifts...mind reading is not on that long list. Show it! Say it!
Passion means having emotions - to have feelings, to feel with all my being. To feel with all of my senses. One of my favorite scriptures calls me to “taste & see that the Lord is good”. How do I taste the Lord? A friend happened upon the meaning of that word, and it means to understand that the Lord is good. So to know in my head and heart (to understand with my whole being) that He is good...and to see with my own two eyes the ways in which He is good.
Passion is heartfelt - a sincere, free will CHOICE. The Lord, our God, will never force Himself upon you. He will be persistent, yes...believe that...but His desire is that we enter into a relationship with Him in our own free will - out of a want to “know this Jesus whose been loving me”, to want to walk in the plan and purpse that was created just for me.
Passion is eager - there is a sense of expectation - to want and not lack any good thing. We come to God knowing that He can and He will. We say it in our service every Sunday - “We hope you came expecting - to find God here. To experience God here. To know that you don’t have to leave this place the same person you came in as.” Coming to God knowing that He CAN and WILL and is ABLE because He loves me...just opens my heart and mind to want to hear from Him. To actively listen.
Passion gets me excited - to be the cause of the feeling, to bring out or give rise to what's inside me. Passion wells up from a place inside me, not from external things.
Passion causes me to be animated - it brings life...to be brought to life - to be & live inspired, encouraged, renewed every single day.
Passion cause me to be spirited - to be full, to have an outlook. To know that His plans for me are to “prosper me...to give me a hope and a future”.
Passion makes me energetic - being involved, showing a great activity within. It causes me to action - to be involved with people, in the church, sharing my testimony, acts of love and service - as well as being evidence of where my heart is, and how God is transforming me from the inside out. It’s an outward manifestation of what’s going on inside me!
Passion makes me fiery - a source of light, to leave a mark on, an energy source. Isn’t that a great word with a great visual? He’s causing me to be a source of light to others. He’s causing me to leave my mark - in a planting seed type way. He gives me strength when I am weary. He gives me strength to stand in the gap for others when they are weary.
A result of passion is that it’s consuming - to take it all in and absorb the good - to be emptied out completely and to know that the source of this love & passion is a never ending well that will renew every day.
Passion is profound - to require much study and thought but to also show great insight and knowledge. It’s not “fluffy”...it allows me to study and search for a lifetime and to not be discouraged or feel unsatisfied. To gains years of insight and knowledge and realize that I know so little of Him - that He, His love, His abilities, and His power are deeper and wider and taller and ever more expansive than I can ever fathom.
That’s a lot to process. It’s a lot of benchmarks and goals for me to continually work towards. If I solely strived to live out the passion that God placed in me I’m in for one heck of a life. To learn more about who you were created to be check out the Bible...then head over to Mike Bickle’s book for some great “AH HA!” moments. You can download it as a PDF, but for those of you who like to read and highlight and write in the margins - you can also pick up a copy over on Amazon or your local faith-based bookstore!!
DISCLAIMER: Mike Bickle and Francis Chan have no idea who I am. We are in no way associated nor am I being paid in any way to promote them or their books. I started reading their books and simply can’t hold this type goodness in any longer. :) These are things, lessons and truths, that I have learned from living out my life day to day. Your results may vary...they can and should be better!!
I pray you are encouraged and feel challenged, and have a renewed hope in your life & in the God who created you. You can do and be ALL of these things and more...feel free to say “Put me in Coach, put me in the game” at any time. Be called to action to claim your victory and have the best Coach imaginable to guide you!