Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house; I will worship at your Temple with deepest awe. – Psalm 5:7
A question we tossed up at small group several weeks back was this: How do we maintain our passion for Jesus?
Wheew. What a loaded question.
I thought about it constantly. I prayed about it, and I couldn’t help but continue seeing the same theme as I read through scripture: we don’t.
We don’t feed our own spiritual flame by trying super hard, we don’t soften our own hearts.
God does it. He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), the creator of all things.
In 1 Samuel 10:9, God gives King Saul a new heart. In 1 Samuel 16:13, God gives King David his spirit, and in John 6:44, Jesus reminds us that the only reason we even come to God is because He is the one who draws us in. We need him.
In my own life, I had watched God move countless times through honest prayer – confessing when I didn’t feel like reading my Bible and asking him to reveal something to me, admitting when I didn’t feel close to God and asking him to show up, even asking God to help me pray because I just couldn’t focus or convince myself that it mattered.
It’s so exciting when God answers prayers like that. As I thought of those moments, I initially only considered the question of maintaining passion in terms of desiring a heightened sense of spirit, a constant enthusiasm for reading my Bible and leading studies. Consciously, my motive was pure, but what I found was that I was linking passion for Jesus with production for him. I wanted God to give me excitement and energy so I could do things for him. But the beauty of the gospel is that we have nothing to prove.
Instead, God reminded me that he’s not interested in my performance. He’s interested in his people. He wants our hearts to be in line with his. He wants us to love him back. Like the lame man waiting to be healed, God already sees us and already loves us.
My NLT study Bible reminded me this – “rather than focusing on how hard it is to obey God, we should focus on maintaining close fellowship with him.” I had been focusing on how I felt, how tired I was and how difficult it was for me to do any of the things that I “should” be doing. And in the midst of it, my prayer life started to slip. God wasn’t answering my prayer for energy and excitement, so I felt myself checking out. As my prayer life started to slip, so did my relationship with God, and so did any feelings of enthusiasm or passion.
But when I drew back in to God himself, when I let go of all the things I wished I was accomplishing and simply soaked up his goodness, his character, everything started to shift back into place.
For Christ’s love compels us… he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
The love of Jesus changes everything. He died for us, allowing us to live for him. Producing, bearing fruit – it will come. God will bring that out of us, but it all starts with him, with a release of ourselves and his catch as we fall.
Read: Psalm 27:4
One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to see him in his temple.
Stepping In: Pray this. Pray it more than once and see what God does. Ex: Father, of all the things I could ask of you, let me care most about being with you. Let me care most about your presence, for all time. Show me your beauty. Let me see you.
Journeying Further: Pray this. Praise God for who he is and why he matters most. Praise him for his beauty and sink into the joy of what’s to come when he is fully revealed to us.
Sing it: Sinking Deep
My response: I forget the basic things so often and need constant reminders. I’ve fallen in love with the Psalms, especially over the last year. Reading or listening to them (Bible App! It reads to you if you want it to) are so helpful to me. Worship music is great, because I can listen to it when I’m doing just about anything else. Prayer – pouring my heart out to God, and then the Bible, his living Word, his response. He speaks through it and displays himself and his heart.