Have you ever heard the analogy that living the Christian life is sometimes like going from a mountaintop experience to living in the valley? You go off to a retreat, conference, or mission trip and you quickly move up to the mountaintop. Then you come home and get back in the routine of life and you sink back into the valley. The goal is always to experience God in the valley just as we did on the mountaintop, but it never seems to work. So you grow up believing the Christian life is a series of ups and downs and as you get older you will have fewer downs than you have ups. How depressing. There may be some truth in that analogy at certain seasons of life, but it doesn’t have to always be that way.
I like Mike Yaconelli’s description of the Christian life. He was a youth minister who had a big impact on my life. He is now experiencing Jesus first hand after dying in a car accident at the age of 61. He thought the Christian’s life was more like a roller coaster. You say yes to Jesus, and suddenly you are strapped in and you think, “I’m going to die!” Then you begin a long climb of growth as you attend Bible Studies and become involved in the things God calls you to and you think, “Hey, no problem, I can follow Jesus anywhere.” And then you crash into the twists and turns of life, jerking you left and right, up then down, and fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty years or more go by and then you die.
Passion is the roller coaster ride that can happen when you follow Jesus. It is the breathtaking, thrill-filled, bone-rattling ride of a lifetime where every moment matters and all you can do is hang on for dear life. When you become a follower of Jesus Christ, you decide in favor of passion. Jesus came to forgive us of our sins but His mission was also to introduce us to the passion of living. He wants you to live life to the fullest (John 10:10). Look at what the Apostle Paul says to the church in Rome:
It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!... This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”
(Romans 8:10-11,15, MSG emphasis added)
What is passion? It’s being alive and living with expectancy and enthusiasm.
What is the opposite of passion? It’s living as if you are dead and being borrrrring (For the A-type personality, the spelling is wrong for emphasis).
Don’t let the devil rob you again today. Get out and live! Be encouraged that Christ lives in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene