Summary: God wants us to love Him passionately. Watch your passion killers - cluttered lifestyle and unconfessed sin. Get fire lighters - prayer, get close to people of passion, and use your God-given gifts.
I want to talk about PASSION today - our passion for the Lord.
FM93.8 has a segment called “Passion People”, where they interview people who are successful in their own field – like art, writing, dance, business or sport.
• Passion is actually the deciding difference between successful and unsuccessful people in every field of work. The fire on the inside affects everything on the outside.
• William Ward says: “Enthusiasm and persistence can make an average person superior; indifference and lethargy can make a superior person average.”
Successful people are passionate people. They have a passion for what they do.
• Of course, success does not depend on passion alone. You can be passionately doing the wrong things. But without passion, you can hardly succeed.
• A complacent team don’t win matches. It’s a question of desire. In yesterday’s TODAY papers, the captain of Chelsea John Terry says the team lacks the hunger to succeed. They are guilty of “not wanting it as much” as their opponents.
• It is not a lack of talents or skills, or a lack of training. They lack the fire, the obsession or thirst for winning.
When Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, failed in his 5000th attempt, his response was: “I am not a failure. Rather I have successfully identified and eliminated 5000 ways that do not work, which brings me 5000 steps closer to discovering the one way that will work.” That’s passion.
Nothing great is ever accomplished without passion.
• Passion gives you a reason to get up in the morning and say, “I’m going to do something with my life today.”
• Passion is what makes a mediocre jogger into a champion runner.
Rom 12:11 “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.”
• Serving is not enough; we need to be zealous and fervent in serving Him.
• We need to fan our passion for the Lord. We need to fan one another’s passion for the Lord. It is more than just a question of talent or skill, but desire.
• Passion has to do with our heart – the fire that burns within us and energises us to do God's will. Without this, ministry is boring, monotonous and routine. Life becomes dull.
A teacher of the Law once asked Jesus what is the most important commandment for life.
[Let’s read the passage for this morning - Mark 12:28-31]
• Jesus’ answer is: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
• He said there is no commandment greater than this.
Take a closer look at this classic line. It is about PASSION for God.
• It is more than just love; it is HOW you love Him. It is not just ‘loving God’, but the passion behind your loving God.
• You can feel it in this command. It is not just “loving with your HEART”, which is what we understand - we see pictures of the heart everywhere, that’s what love is.
• But the commandment adds, with your SOUL, and your MIND and your STRENGTH. It is not OR but AND. All of them together.
And to love is not enough, you need to love with ALL of your heart, ALL of your soul, ALL of your mind, AND (not or) ALL your strength.
• As if some of us can love Him with a portion of our heart, half of our soul, a part of our mind or with partial strength.
• I think you get His point. We must love God with all of our being, without reservation.
• He is not talking about love per se but the quality of our love. It must be a passionate love, not a halfhearted one, not one that pays lip service to loving God.
In order words, God does not want you to just love Him; He wants us to love Him passionately.
• We are to be passionate about God and all that He is concerned about.
• And there is nothing more important than that. It is the most important thing in life, Jesus says.
Today we see people passionate about sport, music, fashion, chocolate, food and almost any other things.
• People who are passionate about a soccer game will shout their heads off when their team scores and cry like babies when they lose. No one thinks it’s odd.
• When we see a big man cries we kind of expected that. We understand. He is a die-hard fan. That’s call passion.
The opposite of passion is apathy or indifference. Or “lukewarm”, as the angel describes it in Revelation, to the church in Laodicea.
• It is not a state of mind; it's a state of heart.