“And you shall 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 (ESV)
Passionate devotion, love and purpose captivate us. As a culture we cling to stories like “Romeo and Juliet,” “Gone with the Wind,” “Don Quixote,” “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “Les Miserables” for the passionate actions of the characters. These stories evoke within each of us a desire to be equally passionate in our own lives. We long to give ourselves completely to something or someone so our lives might have true purpose.
Humanity is captivated by passion because we were created for it. God created us with a desire to be passionate so that He might satisfy that desire with His plans. The Bible is the ultimate story of passion. It’s the story of God coming down to us and giving Himself completely for us to the point of death. Defeating death, He now desires to use us as passionate children to lead the whole world to salvation and freedom, that our lives would impact eternity.
You were made to be passionate, but oftentimes church is the last place you think of as passionate and wholehearted. So often, we in vocational ministry are scared to lose our volunteers and congregation by asking too much of them, so we never present them with an opportunity to live as passionately as God intends. The truth is that God wants all of you. He’s calling you to a life of passionate surrender everywhere you go. He doesn’t want to meet you just at church, at a gathering of believers, or even in your personal times; He wants you all day every day. God’s calling you to a life of adventure in which the outcome is only known by Him. He’s calling you to step out of everyday living to a life of staggering surrender so great that this world will no longer feel like home. The call is worthwhile. His presence is worth the cost. God has a story for the ages prepared just for you — a story with real, eternal impact. But it will cost you everything to live it.
If this truth sounds radical to you, it’s because it is. So many Christians will never live out the fullness of what God planned for them because of how radical it sounds. Fear grips us; we choose the comfortable path with minimal impact. But if we follow this compromise to its end, we will live passionless, mediocre lives in which we are never fully satisfied. We will live in this gap where one moment we worship God and the next we seek satisfaction in sin. We will live vicariously through the stories we hear in movies, books and television shows of people who lived passionately. And at the end of our lives, we will look back and wish we had another chance to live for what really matters.
But you have a choice today. A radical life of passionate love for God awaits you. It’s waiting for you right now. It doesn’t mean you have to pack your bags and head out on the mission field. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to lead someone to Jesus today. It could be as simple as opening your heart fully to God and allowing Him to fill you to overflowing with His love. Commit your life to Him in full surrender today. Respond to His leadership with a continual “yes” in your heart. Give yourself to Him completely so your life would be marked by a passionate pursuit of the perfect, pleasing and powerful plans of your Heavenly Father.
— Craig Denison, First 15
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