Day 10: 50 Days of Passion

Apathy, malaise and laziness are all symptoms of something much deeper. When you come to realize one of these or any combination have started to creep into your life it becomes time to react to the it. Now we may have bouts of laziness because we are just so busy in life and just need time to unwind, not what I am talking about. Paul had every reason and opportunity to just sulk and do his time in jail. He could have gone deep into depression focusing on the why me. But he didn’t.

 

I am going to keep on being glad, for I know that as you pray for me, and as the Holy Spirit helps me, this is all going to turn out for my good. Philippians 1:19

 

Here in jail Paul was determined to continue on, excited for Christ. He never threw in the towel and give up. He also knew that he could not endure this situation alone.

 

Our lives are not meant to be lived alone. When we isolate ourselves and close ourselves off from other people it is very easy to become aphetic to the world. The ‘whatev’ attitude can become a theme. We were not meant to live a life where we sign along to ‘Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be.”  Paul knew this and put his joy not in his own strength but understood that his joy came from two sources, the Holy Spirit and those praying for him.

 

First, he had people praying for him. Why would this give Paul gladness or joy? When you have someone praying for you it tells you that you are important to them, that you are worthy of their time and care enough to petition your needs before God. Paul would have made his situation know to his friends so they knew what to pray for. He didn’t keep everything to himself, he asked for help. If we keep our needs to ourselves and don’t ask for pray or a helping hand how can we expect to deal with life that is overwhelming us?

 

Second, he acknowledged that the Holy Spirit was there with him. Jesus told us that he would send someone to comfort us. To be comforted we must first be uncomfortable, now I think being in prison would be very uncomfortable. But I believe the Holy Spirit is already with all believers. We were living an uncomfortable life before we met Jesus, on the day we gave our lives to him he sent the Holy Spirit to live with us. Many believers don’t know he is there and don’t take the time to build the relationship that Christ has provided. To have a relationship with God is to have one with all three parts of his being, Father, Son and Spirit. To only communicate with Father and Son is to miss out on the Spirit that is ready willing and able to work wonders in your life.

So, if you are feeling any of these symptoms today and maybe you have continued further down the path into depression, I would suggest the first thing you need to do is pray. Ask God to show you who the Holy Spirit is in your relationship, ask him to reveal Joy in your life. Next tell someone what’s going on, your Pastor, your mentor, your family, a close friend, someone who can begin praying for you. Then with them find someone who can guide you properly, a consoler or Christian therapist, who can work with you to root out what is holding you down.

 

If you want a renewed passion in life I pray that apathy, malaise and laziness will become things of the past. A passion like the one Paul has in prison will ignite our cities if we will allow the Holy Spirit to move in our lives. We must start praying for one another, lifting up the needs and calling out for the Spirit to move. Passion beings in prayer, revival starts in our heart, our love for Christ must overflow and reach this world.

 

Father, we need a renewed passion. We pray for those who are feeling depressed, either full borne, or on the road to. Jesus send the Holy Spirit to those people and show them the path they are on so they can ask for help. Let us gather around them, encourage them, love them, show them that they are important. We pray that you will move in their lives and ours. Let you love overflow us so that we can reach those in our communities who don’t know you and need to meet you. Give us a Joy that can’t be explained. Amen

Day 9: 50 Days of Passion

 

Charles Stanley this week made a clear distinction on the way we hear from the Holy Spirit and the Enemy. After we have accepted Christ into our lives we are still prone to sin, but we have Jesus promise to forgive when we ask. The enemy will condemn us for this and try to convince us to either ignore it or that God would never forgive us. The Holy Spirit works differently, he never condemns, he lets us know and reminds us that Jesus will forgive. If we can heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit then we will be able to push forward in our faith and our passion will show.

 

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT

 

Do you ever do things that afterword’s you feel real awful about. Maybe it is something you know is wrong but in the heat of the moment it feels so right? Sin is like that. Sin aims at hitting at all the right pleasure points, creating a sense of entitlement. But sin is like a cancer, it spreads and works its way to your heart.

 

The Holy Spirit calls you to repentance, he sees everything you do. As a believer we still sin, but we are called to repent and move away from what causes us to sin. The Proverb says, ” as a dog returns to his vomit” well if we keep doing the same thing over and over each time we are repenting of it, are we repentant or just looking to feel better about our sin?

 

Repentance of out sin is to do a U-turn from what caused the problem in the first place. Get out of the situation, put up safe guards, get accountability, tell someone, do something. But the key is you must want to change. Freedom from sin is a choice you must make daily. Jesus told Peter that we will be forgiven 70×7, not to say after 490 times he stops, but that we will always be forgiven if asked. But it would be so much easier if we changed after the first time.

Is your sin dragging you down, is it stifling your passion? It is hard to be passionate about your faith when sin has not been dealt with.

 

So, are you living your life as to glorify God? Or are you living it to pleasure yourself?

 

Jesus, I want to live my life glorifying you. I don’t want to be like a dog returning to my own vomit. Forgive me of my sins. Help me to u-turn away from them. Let this day be a new day. Let me be able to reach others with you love because they matter to me. Move in this city. Move at my work. Use me. Amen

 

 

Day 7: 50 Days of Passion

Fear can hold back many people. How many are afraid of public speaking, addressing a crowd can be petrifying to some. The medical world has created a whole chapter on this issue of fear and even created words that the classify as phobias. Some have created the terms Evangephobia or Gospelphobia as one who is afraid to share their faith.

 

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. Philippians 1:12-14

 

There is no medical reference to a phobia on sharing the gospel. These terms I mentioned above are coined from churches or ministries creating buzz words to point out that the fear of sharing the gospel is a real thing. There was a fear in Paul’s time for sharing the gospel. But their reasons are way different then ours, sharing the gospel for us makes us uncomfortable, sharing in Paul’s day could cost you your life.

Paul displayed in jail that no matter the circumstance, situation or his lot in life he was willing to share his faith. He didn’t care who knew he followed Christ but confidently shared it with everyone including the palace guards. This confidence is infections. You see it says, “most of the brothers and sister”, this tells me that not all dared to surpass their fears. Many did and their passion increased, their fears decreased and they were able to share their faith in confidence.

Can this life experience of Paul ignite a passion in your heart to overcome your fear to share the gospel?  Or do you know someone who is confident in sharing their faith? If you do hang out with them, let their confidence infect you, let their passion for reaching the lost rub off on you. Join them and be mentored by them, ensure that the purpose of your time together is on reaching the lost and not distracted by your needs.

Like any fear the first step is to admit your afraid. Once you do that you can work towards overcoming that fear. Trying to do something you are afraid to do is hard, but asking the Holy Spirit to remove that fear will change you from the inside out. Stepping out in faith and doing when he gives you that push will build your confidence.

If you want your passion to be the consistent in your life then fear of reaching the lost must go. There is a certain joy that can only be experienced by sharing your faith with another person who is lost. It explodes in your heart when that person commits their life to Jesus.

Are you ready to let go of your fear?

Father, so many of us are caught in this fear of sharing our faith, we think we will lose friends, family or social standing. We are confused by the way the world says that we must accept all and be open to everything. Forgive us for falling for this trap of the enemy, let us not give into this fear. Holy Spirit we ask for you to remove this fear that is holding us back, give us a confidence and to share the truth. Give us mentors who will disciple us and provide us direction in sharing our faith. We want to reaching others and share your love to this world. I pray encouragement and renewed passion for anyone reading this. Amen

 

 

Day 6: 50 Days of Passion

Most items we have today need to be plugged in to work properly. They need to be left plugged in or they need to be recharged on a continual basis. Paul here is reminding the church they need to be plugged in and connected with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Knowledge and Wisdom are both gifts of the Holy Spirit Paul talks about to the Corinthians. He is encouraging them to be energized and full of passion so they can effective.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

Have you ever gotten up in the morning to realize you had either forgotten to plug your cell phone in or maybe someone unplugged it to plug their own in? I have and you get that brief feeling of it isn’t going to last the day thoughts. I know it is trivial to compare our lives with a cell phone but let me just give you a few insights.

Connected – If our cell phone isn’t connected to a network how effective is it? it still can do things but it lacks the functionality of a cell phone and becomes just a paperweight. If it is a smart phone with out network or internet access it can still work and provide some applications but the effectiveness isn’t there. Well if we aren’t connected with our creator how effective are we? We connect through prayer and reading the word. Without those in our lives we can’t be effective in our Christian walk.

Power – Like the fact your cell phone won’t work if you don’t plug it in, our Christian life needs recharging too. I believe this is what church is all about. It is a time to come recharge and prepare yourselves for a busy week ministering to people around you. Missing that opportunity isn’t the only way to recharge, connecting as above will provide recharge as well.

Applications – Newer Smart phones are loaded with things that can fill up your phones limited space. We have to be careful that if we overload the space it will slow our phone down. In our Christian lives, it is very similar. What we apply ourselves to will fill up our lives. Paul was praying that the Phillipi believes would abound in love, knowledge and insights. These things are gifts given by the Holy Spirit for all who seek them. Filling our lives with these applications will improve our lives and help us become a passionate people.

We need as believers to be connected, recharged and seeking the applications (gifts) of the Holy Spirit. To be a passionate believer who is mission center we should be keeping these keys in mind. If your life is full of other things that aren’t glorifying God then maybe it is time to free up some space for him.

If you are reading this and don’t have a relationship with God let me tell you it is the most important choice you will ever make. You may say but there is no God, I say well if I am wrong and there is no God what am I losing out by trusting him anyways. If your wrong it is everything.

Father, I pray for my fellow believers. As Paul wrote I pray that they abound in love being filled with knowledge and insights. Hive them wisdom to reach those around them who need to know you. Ignite their passion for reaching the lost. Let all the glory and honor be to you Jesus for you free people from their bondage of sin and give them life. I pray for an explosion of people coming to know you. Use me and use those reading this to be a light in the darkness. Amen

Day 4: 50 Days of Passion

If we ever wanted to look at a man who should have been missing passion for his faith it was Paul. Stuck in jail for who knows how many years just for sharing the gospel of Jesus. Yet from ever letter we read from Paul we don’t get a sense that his passion has faded at all. He is committed to his trust and love of Jesus and the mission.

 

I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6

 

To his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul takes the time to thank and encourage them in the way they are over coming adversity. The church would have been under attack from the local roman government, and many others who opposed the truth they were speaking.

Here in his letter we see Paul telling them that he is consistently praying for this church family. He has not stopped daily lifting them up to the Father with words of encouragement and hope. He sees that the work they are doing for the kingdom is the true mission work and understands his prayers will help fuel their passion. Even though Paul is not physically with them he is integral to the mission that is going on in Philippi.

Are you praying for the work being done by others? Are you encouraging other organizations in prayer, praying for strength, vision, and opportunities? Just like Paul we can be integral in the life of churches and missionaries who are in places we may never be. Praying for others doing the work of God will help ignite our passion. Our relationship with God is not just about us but our relationships with others in the family as well. Building them up and asking the Father to empower them and use them makes us part of the family.

So, who are you praying for today? Does your church have missionaries you could be praying for? Is you church associated with any parachurch organizations like Village of Hope or Samaritans Purse? Maybe there is some new church plants in your city, state or country you could be fortifying with your prayers. Praying for others will refuel your passion tank.

 

Father, all to often we focus our prayers on what we have in our circle of life. We miss praying for those who are off in other areas doing your mission. I pray that you will reignite us as we pray for others. Help is to be an encouragement to those who need it, to be the prayer in the perfect timing. I pray that your mission will expand and that many will come to know you personally. Let me be a witness to those around me, a light in the darkness. Let my passion overflow. Amen

Day 3: 50 Days of Passion

Yesterday we talked about our Christian walk being like a marathon. One of the things that keep us going are our feet. As I was out for a run I was thinking about how easily our feet can fail us when we are trying to move. Ironically the song Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now, by NeedtoBreathe came on. In it they sing “I pray my feet don’t ever slow me down”. I have always thought Jesus had talked to his disciples about this during the last supper.

 

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” John 13 6-7

 

If you take the time to read the whole exchange Peter goes on to say, “hey if your going to wash my feet why not my whole body.” Jesus understood that as we walk through life or run our feet collect dirt (sin), it happens. I believe what Jesus was telling Peter, his other followers, and even us today is that we must daily clean our feet.  A symbolic means of saying “I know I have sinned along the way but cleanse me and help me to continue running forward in the race.” Our bodies where already cleaned when we accepted Jesus gift of salvation. Unless we seriously trip and fall in a mud puddle, we only need to worry about our feet.

All to often we neglect this daily cleaning. Some have come to believe one and done. I have accepted Christ once and all my sins are cleansed and I can now do whatever I want and it is forgiven. Many have figure that this isn’t what Christianity is about. We don’t lose our salvation when we sin, we can all agree on that, but sin slows us down it hinders who we want to be.

We need to clean it off, before it becomes overpowering. How many influential Christians have fallen because sin has crept into their lives? They didn’t jump into sin, most just started getting their feet dirty, left it and eventfully it crept up their legs slowing them way down like mud caked on boots.

So where is your passion for sharing the faith? Passion for loving the loveless? Passion for the lost? Passion for the church? Passion for Jesus?

Maybe it is time to humble yourself and ask Jesus to wash off your feet which have become filthy. Daily ask him to wash your feet, this is humbling but also is an awesome time to grow your relationship with Him. Asking him to renew your passion for the mission and the calling he has for you. There is no dirt to caked on that Jesus can’t remove. He can make refresh your life and ignite your passion.

 

Father, many of us are running the race with our feet full of dirt. This causes us to stumble and eventually fall. You said you would wash our feet, wash me feet Jesus. I want to be running in your strength, towards the mission you have given us to reach and disciple the lost. Ignite my passion for you, ignite my passion for the lost, ignite my passion for the church, let my life be an example of your love in this race. I want to love others as you love them. Amen

Day 2: 50 Days of Passion

In the context of passion, our lives as believers are to be lived as marathons, not 100m dashes. If you know anything about running, you would know that you can’t sprint for long periods without getting weak. A goal of a marathon is to complete, keep going and never give up.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 1 Corinthians 9:24

We see here in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that he wants them to run and win the race. D we think that we are running to beat other believers in this race of life? I believe Paul is telling us to run to complete, don’t give up, aim big, its easy to give up but harder to keep pushing on.

A marathon in our Christian walk is a life long journey, it starts the moment we accept Christ, and ends when we pass on to the next. We can freely walk off the course and abandon the race but by the grace of God he allows us to rejoin as we realize our mistakes.

Here are some thoughts of different styles of runners in the race;

Quick Starters- As we talked about there are those who accept Christ and explode with passion. These would be the runners in a marathon who sprint off the starting line and eventually slow down due to burn out. The main concern with this is that when they hit that moment the decide to quit, instead of pushing forward. Others may join the walkers, moving forward but not gaining much ground.

Long Haulers –  This type of runner is one who maintains a forward momentum, they know what needs to be done and makes ever effort to do it. The recognize when other runners are hurting and are willing to stop and help pick them up and encourage them to keep running.

Yo-Yo’s – I know how it sounds but they are the runners who have a good pace, but through different times of life will explode for a distance, empower by the Holy Spirit and oozing with passion. This type of passion and sprinting usually only last for a season but during that time much ground is taken.

Walkers – Those in the church who are just coasting through their Christianity. They may have started out as quick starters, or yo-yo’s or long haulers, but have settled down to walking. They are moving forward but the passion is minimal. All it might take is someone to pass them with some passion to reignite them.

Spectators –  We have all seen them, those who are watching the race but just not ready to run. Maybe they are even attending your church with a spouse. They know the race is happening, maybe even trying to participate with out signing up. But fear of failing or giving themselves over to the race holds them back on the sidelines.

 

Where do you fit in as a racer in your run with Christ? Maybe none of these describe you. Maybe more then one. This is only my thoughts on the matter.

I want to encourage you today, if you’re not in the race, join. If you’re walking, run. If your running when was the last time you had a good sprint?

 

Father, we want to reignite our passion, maybe we have become complacent in our lives and just running on auto pilot. Regardless if we are running full tilt, walking or at a steady pace we need to be moving forward to the goal which is a closer relationship with you.  Help us to promote this race to others, let them see our passion and love for you. Let us love them like you do. Amen

 

Day 1: 50 Days of Passion

I wonder if you have ever experienced a season in your Christian walk where your personal passion just doesn’t seem to be there. At least not like it used to be. That where I am right now, I feel a malaise, whereas I am just not motivated as I want to be. I think I am on the right track as I have identified this pattern and am working to change directions. But I would assume I am not alone, so I invite you to join me for the next 50 days as we look into reigniting our passion in our relationship with God. If you have any experiences where you would like to share please, those times can help others.  If you don’t want to miss out on any of this series please follow me at 50DaysofPray.wordpress.com.

 


So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

 

Can you remember when you first received Jesus as your savior? Were you a church kid who almost slid into your faith like me or where you outside of the church and the truth was revealed to you? I see a difference in these two types of people. Those who grow up in church and remain in church can, but not always, have a foundation from the start but lose the passion as they continue in their faith. Others that grow up in the church seemingly “grow out” of the church and move on seemingly dropping what they once held as truth. They may or may not return to their faith, but we keep praying that one day they will come back to a relationship with God.

Now there are those who find Jesus, either outside of church, or for the first time in church and they are passionate about their faith. Many of these young Christians want to jump out and change the hearts of everyone around them with this newfound love they are experiencing. I find that they hit a wall and the passion fades away, maybe they weren’t discipled and they eventually move into a pattern of complacency.

What kind of passion am I looking for, or should we be looking for in our faith? I have some ideas, but as we go through this series I am asking God to reveal true passion in my life. A passion to reach the lost. A passion to study my bible. A passion to pray for others. A passion to love my neighbor. A passion to bring my family to church. A passion to fellowship with other believers. I want my passion for my relationship to overflow my life so others will see a difference in me that can’t be explained.

Many associate fire with passion, so you may read about lighting a fire so that will be where I am heading with that.

 

Father, many times we go through seasons of malaise.  I wish I knew why. But I am asking you to ignite our hearts. All to often we see others comfortable in their faith and just want to join them. Holy Spirit light a fire in my heart, let it burn bright and ignite those around me. I don’t want to be apathetic to what your doing, I want to be involved. Help me to be a light to the world. Amen