Thursday, March 7, 2013

Passion

Hearing CJ play this song recently on the guitar has been a real blessing to me. As the time is drawing near for his launch into college and the reality of what that means is sinking in for our family, I love hearing him sing of his heart’s desire to have a lifelong passion for Jesus.


Lifelong Passion

Fire burn heat these coals
Deeper deeper
Spirit yearn call my heart
Deeper deeper

Be my life-long passion Jesus Jesus
Be my life-long passion Jesus Jesus

River flow drench this soul
Deeper deeper
Hunger grow take my love
Deeper deeper

Be my strong intent my heart’s desire
My will’s pursuit my passion’s fire!
My spirit’s zeal my mind’s delight
My one resolve my journey’s light

Ali Berry
2008 Integrity Worship Music/ASCAP and Shining Rose Songs


I have also been personally challenged by the words of this song.

And as I have continued to reflect on Larry’s Crabb’s Finding God, I’ve been wrestling with these questions:

Is my passion to be free from pain
Or to seek God with all of my heart?

Is my desire to be validated in the eyes of others
Or to bless people out of the abundance of His grace in my life?

Am I really hungry for God
Or have I become “full” on the things of this world?

Crabb asks, “What can we do to stir up a drive for knowing Christ that is more powerful than our natural urge to look after ourselves? How can we develop a passion for finding God that will lead to an actual encounter with him, an encounter that will free us to care about others, not to prove our value or to gain their approval, but to bless others?”

I have also been challenged recently by a kindle book that a friend sent to me called Extravagant by Bryan Jarrett. I was especially touched by the story of his 40 day fast, when he reached a point of expressing real disappointment and anger toward God for not answering him in the way he had hoped. He says that after pouring out his heart to God in frustration, “I felt more broken than I’d ever been before, and suddenly in the place of anger and blame, I overflowed with a fresh sense of gratitude. I experienced God’s forgiveness in the depths of my soul and realized He hadn’t abandoned me at all.”

Then Jarrett fell asleep for two hours in the remote cabin he was using as a retreat, and was startled to see a strange man standing over him when he woke up. It turned out that this man was a truck driver who had been praying as he was driving and received a clear message from God, but he wasn’t sure who it was for. So he had pulled off the road and noticed that someone was in the cabin. After confirming that Jarrett was the man God intended to hear the message, “He answered every question I’d asked God over the previous 37 days and shared astounding insights into God’s heart and intentions.”

He then said, “Pastor Bryan, you’re unhappy in the ministry because you’ve taken your attention off Jesus and His promises. While you’ve focused on strategies and effectiveness, your heart is divided and you’re missing the point—and Jesus is the point. If you’ll engage Him with as much passion and effort as you’ve poured into your ministry for Him, all those other things will flow out of your relationship with Him.”

Looking back, Jarrett reflected, “During the forty days, I’d been preaching every Sunday on pursuing the presence of God, but there had been a void in my own heart. Now I suddenly realized I had fasted because I had wanted answers, not because I wanted God...I’d been blind to my own motives and my heart’s desires. It took a dear brother speaking God’s message to me in a dusty cabin in the piney woods of southern Arkansas for me to get the picture. He showed me that I needed to spend less passion and effort on the success of my tasks and more on my primary assignment of knowing, loving, and serving Jesus Christ. I had to make sure the secondary things were truly secondary and the ultimate thing was truly the center of my affections and attention.”

I love Jarrett’s conclusion from this encounter: “God went to great lengths to shatter my presumptions about His character and His will for my life so he could teach me a new level of extravagant devotion. He wants all of us to have this kind of relationship with Him. In fact, every blessing we enjoy invites us to see Him as evermore beautiful and gracious toward us. Every heartache shows us the depth of our need for Him. What will it take for you to long for Him with all your heart?”

I’ve been convicted about a layer of callousness that I can sense over my heart these days: a kind of self-protection, a way of keeping God at arm’s length. I’m asking God to remove this layer in order for Him to be my one true passion. That I would “earnestly seek Him” above all else (Hebrews 11:6).

What are you asking God for these days? What is your passion?







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