Summary: Encouragement to give your all to God all the time in all you do.
How many of you here today feel as though any fire that could be considered a passion has been extinguished? Your love for the activities you like to do has been wiped out and now you are working with an emptied and tired slate. Survival may be the only way of life that you reach for because trying to reach for anything more would push you beyond exhaustion. Your passion for reading the Bible and praying to God may not even be measurable. Sure, you love the Lord but you’re just fed up with all the stress, hard work, and the massive amount of life’s pressures to continue pushing forward. Sound familiar to anyone here. Doesn’t it sound amazing to have the kind of faith and passion that the people in the Bible had?
Listen to the conversation found in John 6:25-29 and I think you’ll find something very common about most Christians. After Jesus had fed the five thousand, he went to the other side of the lake to get away from the mobs of people. “When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, 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. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.
How does that apply to us today? Jesus doesn’t make food directly for five thousand people at a time. We don’t chase him for a loaf of bread. However, we do chase him for many other reasons; reasons which have nothing to do with Him and everything to do with us. We run to Him when we need help but generally don’t seek Him. We run to him when we want assurance yet we ourselves are impatient with Him. We wonder about how he really will take care of us. The story on John 6 doesn’t end there. It continues by saying “They said therefore to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
A quick translation of the peoples’ last question would be, “What is the minimum we have to do to have a part in what God is doing?” What’s the bottom line in this exchange? Jesus simply says that the “work” is His work on their hearts. He doesn’t give them a bottom line. Why? Isn’t there a minimum we can do to be a part of God’s workings? The simple answer is NO! You’re either growing or dying; there isn’t a third direction. Having a passion for the things of God such as his Word and prayer cannot come from a heart that is determined to only do the minimum for God. Passionate faith comes from a God-filled life. The men in the story only wanted Jesus to fulfill their own desires. They didn’t want to give up anything but wanted to receive all the benefits. What does a God-filled life look like? We find our answer in Mark 12:28-34.
“One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind, and with all your strength.’ “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.” The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that He is One, and there is no one else besides Him; and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as Himself, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Maybe it’s time we stopped looking at what the words of the Bible say and start becoming what they describe. Passionate faith comes from a God-filled life. Passionate faith comes from God consuming every part of our lives and us becoming all the stronger for it. We say and hear these common verses and think, “Wow, yeah I need to do that.” However, it seems that we never actual do it because it seems like such a far-off reality. It’s one of those lofty goals that’s nice to dream about although we never believe we can make it. I have only one problem about this type of thinking; God never once said that these were lofty goals. God did say that he expects us to do this; “You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength…” No exception or way out is given in these verses. No minimum allowance was given either. God wants every part of our lives. Let’s examine how to give all four to God so that we can have passionate faith.