In our “circles”…whatever that means…the word passion feels like it’s used a lot. What’s your passion or what are you passionate about? But like most words I think we’ve lost its true meaning. As I looked up the definition I was somewhat underwhelmed by it, strong and barely controllable emotion, but I was interested in this graph I found which showed that the use of the word passion has dropped considerably over the last 100 years in writing. That actually kind of shocks me because there are so many more books available now than then, and yet it’s mentioned 50% less.
I decided to look up definitions in Noah Webster’s original dictionary and one of the definitions began to speak to me more impactfully; Zeal; ardor; vehement desire. I believe we were created for this but not how we’ve been taught to think or desire it but as it relates to our pursuit of God. In Acts 1:3 it says, “To them also He showed Himself alive after His passion (His suffering in the garden and on the cross) …” Jesus’ passion was His choosing to experience the suffering before and during His betrayal and crucifixion. But it wasn’t His desire for that experience it was the fact that God’s love for us was so great He was willing to experience all of those things for us…that was Christ’s passion.
Our one thing, that is what God expects to be in our lives. That doesn’t replace all of the people, places and things that are a part of our lives, instead it sets the order. I think it’s cool that God is a God of order (in fact I really like organization!) and the way God orders our life is by having us make Him our One and Only and then He orchestrates the balance of family, life, ministry, even ourselves and any and all other things that He’s planned to be a part of our lives. What is also becoming clearer each day is that I have to passionately pursue keeping Him as my One Thing passionately, with zeal, ardor and vehement desire, or I allow disorder to enter onto the scene.
It seems to me that one of the reasons the word passion has diminished in use is because it’s a lot of work. Think how life has changed in the last 100 years. Life for us, especially those in progressive countries, has become so much more convenient. I think convenient and easy has been replacing passion. A few years back we had an early snow storm and because the leaves were still on the trees they caught and held the snow which was so heavy it broke thousands of trees all over our state and power lines fell like dominos and the whole state of Connecticut was pretty much without power. For eight days my husband, kids, an occasional friend, and myself just worked to keep the basics going. We were on a well, so no electricity also meant no water…ouch! Even the simplest things in our normal lives became a huge event. In experiencing that two things came to mind; 1) how much time it took just to stay alive when you didn’t have all the things we now have; and 2) how appreciative I became for the progress we’ve made over the last 100 years!
I don’t think God has any problem with the fact that daily living is easier now than it’s ever been, but I do think we need to realize that because it is easier, keeping Him as our One Thing, our focus, our top priority is going to take more effort on our part. We are going to have to choose to maintain that passion, to not let convenience and busyness encroach and push out the desire to seek Him and find Him and daily search for Him with all of our heart and live the life He designed us for.
Have you heard the quote that good is the enemy of great? God doesn’t settle. To be saved there’s one way, and only one way, through Jesus Christ. He also makes it clear that He has no desire to be second in our lives, He has to be first. I don’t know that we’ve really grasped what that means but I believe that the Holy Spirit is awakening in this time and hour a desire in the hearts of many to put God in His rightful place within our hearts and lives. God understands that on our own we cannot put Him, nor keep Him, as our One Thing. With that understanding He’s shown us that if we will reset each day, turn our eyes on Him, let Him know we want Him to be first, He’ll do the ordering of our lives, He’ll blow on the embers of our passion for Him and fan it to a burning flame but it is truly a daily event. I encourage you, as I do myself, to make the effort to write those notes, set those alarms and reminders, put that picture and verse up where you can see it and daily place your heart in His hands and fix your eyes on Jesus. As you daily do this you will find that the rest of your life begins to make more sense and when troubles do arise you’re not out there trying to be your own air traffic controller, in fact you have the most brilliant air traffic controller ever, the Holy Spirit, working on your behalf! Join me in pursuing our passion, which comes to a stop…right at the feet of Jesus.
A Daughter’s Prayer: Abba, it embarrasses me to admit that I have not kept You in Your proper place in my life. I have let my desires, the desires of others and the busyness of my life take greater importance than You. Thank You that out of Your love, patience, grace and mercy You continue to draw me to You and remind me that You are my most important thing, in fact You need to be my One Thing. That is what I desire, You…as my One Thing. Daily I need You, daily I seek after You and find You as I search for You with my whole heart. Out of my pursuit of You, You orchestrate my life, my activities, my encounters and my very being. Jesus, be my passion, be my whole pursuit. In Your holy name, amen.