Summary: How can we develop a passion for God?
Passion For God
A lawyer once asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment. I believe that Jesus' answer probably shocked him. See, the Pharisees had over 300 commandments that they had made up. They had gotten so caught up in the law, in keeping the law that they had forgotten what was the purpose of the law... to help us see the error of our ways, errors that separate us from God and also to cause us to seek reconciliation with Him.
Behind the giving of the law was not anger and legalism, and wrath ... but it was love and a desire to have a personal passionate relationship with man. Making all of those laws mad the Jews begin to worship the law instead of the person. They came to have a relationship with the law ... not the God. I believe that was what Jesus saw in the lawyer who asked the question. He was an obvious plant of the Pharisees in order to entrap Jesus in a sting operation designed to get rid of Him. When Jesus looked into the heart of the lawyer he saw passion ... for the law, for legalism. But spiritually ... Jesus saw a dead, dry, parched emptiness.
There was no relationship with, any passion for God.
So rather than give a discourse on all of the law ... a dead issue ... Jesus turned to what was really important...PASSION FOR GOD.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind"
I could stand here today and preach on three ways to love God ... heart, soul, and mind.
But, like Anthony Campolo, in his book, "Carpe Diem", I believe that Jesus' verbal inflection and emphasis would have been on the word "ALL". He was referring to the intensity that God was looking for in his followers.
"What God is looking for are people whose love for Him is so intensely passionate that its only analogy here on earth is what goes on between young lovers who burn with desire for each other and who embarrass those around them by their inability to control themselves in public. "
It was the DESIRE on the part of David that made him so pleasing to God.
In fact, one of the best proofs that God is not satisfied with just doing things right or doing the right thing is God's words to the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2.
Here was a church that was doing the right things ... the things that God commanded.
"I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and how thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my sake hast labored, and hast not fainted"
That is high praise ... God is saying that they have done a great job of doing the religious things. They get an A for effort.
But you cannot read this without hearing in God's voice a ... distance, a blandness, a yawn … A DISAPPOINTMENT.
But why, why would God be disappointed if they have done such a great job?
Something is missing... PASSION!
Even though they were not guilty of disobedience and probably scored well on their own score sheet... God was disappointed because what was not there ... Passion!
"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee ... because THOU HAST LEFT THY FIRST LOVE."
They had lost that passion that deep desire for God that had marked their early experience.
Now, they had gotten into programs and ministries and teaching and doing things and had lost the passion for the person.
I'm not saying that God would rather have immature followers who just have the passion but no maturity ... or that passion is better than obedience.
I'm just saying that for God ... Passion is of ultimate importance.
If he could only have one ... I know he'd choose passion
Passion will lead to obedience
Obedience does not necessarily lead to passion.
There is the legend of a boy named Sidharthra. He had a desire to know God. He heard of a guru who knew more of god than anyone. He found the guru and asked him, "How can I find God?"
The guru took him to the edge of a lake.... suddenly he grabbed the boy and thrust his head under the water. The boy tried but could not escape the iron grip of the guru. Just when it seemed that his lungs would burst and his life would end the guru pulled his head out of the water. The boy gasped to regain his breath.