Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Is passion still burning?

1 Peter 5:8 (MSG) Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

Do you still have the same passion deep inside of you today that you had the first moment you said yes to Christ? For some the answer is “YES! I am even more on fire for him than I was when I gave my life to him.” Sadly for others the answer could go something like this “Not really, I have been so beaten down by circumstances around me that my faith is wavering.” Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle.

I am reading Relentless: The Power You Need to Never Give Up by John Bevere and was reminded of what God has called us to do as his children. God is strong and wants us to be strong. He has called us on purpose for a purpose. In fact, before we were even a twinkle in our parents’ eye, He had a plan for us. Our entire life written in His book before one came to be (Psalm 139:16). As I read this morning I had to ask myself a tough question. “Am I relentlessly following the path He planned out for me or have I veered off onto a worldly path?” I’d like to think I am following the path He has planned for me…but I am not so sure about the “relentlessly following” part. Sometimes I feel like I’m just going through the motions. Have you ever felt like that?

Something stirred deep inside when I took an honest look at myself. I don’t want to “just” go through the motions of being a Christ-follower. I don’t want to idly stand by and “let things fall where they may.” I want to be an influence for Jesus on the people around me. I want to stand and fight when everyone else is “accepting things” the way they are. While the battle belongs to the Lord, He still gave us spiritual weapons to fight off the enemy (Eph 6:10 – 18) and calls us to engage in the battle.

Satan and his minions have wreaked havoc in the minds of the people in this nation. It’s now more acceptable to be a Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, etc. than it is to be a Christian. Christian persecution in the United States is on the rise and is getting considerably worse. Spreaders of the gospel of Jesus Christ are being jailed and killed for speaking what they know to be the truth of God’s word. I don’t think this is a fight Jesus wants us to relent (back down) from. As Christians, we are his hands and feet on earth. Christ gave us the great commission himself in Matthew 28:18-20 (NCV) and has not left us alone.

Then Jesus came to them and said, All power in heaven and on earth is given to me. So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.”

To me, this doesn’t sound like we can just “sit around” waiting for Jesus to come back. We are called to “GO” and run the race Christ has planned for us even when “the world” seems to be making things difficult. I think I like the way Hebrews 12:1-3 sums it up:

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

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