Is not the root of spiritual passion God?
In Nehemiah’s case,was it not God that established spiritual passion in his heart for the rebuilding of Jerusalem? To begin this work in Nehemiah’s life,God first revealed to Nehemiah the ruinous condition of Jerusalem. With this revelation,God linked Jerusalem’s ruinous condition with an inaccurate testimony of God’s glory in the earth. The passion in God’s very heart (to restore His beloved city) became the passion of Nehemiah’s life.
In truth,Nehemiah did nothing to create this passion;the genesis of his passion was God. Nehemiah was,however,a man who listened to and responded to the nudge and call of God. In doing so,his new found passion prompted him to join God in the passion of His heart – Jerusalem.
I wonder does God still work this way in the lives of his people. Are we too busy trying to create passion that we fail to simply present ourselves to God in order to be captured by His passion for this season of our lives?
The two disciples that talked and walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus had a similar experience. Was it not their contact with Jesus that caused their hearts to burn with spiritual passion? They weren’t the source of their heavenly heartburn,Jesus was.
Likewise,it was God who planted His Word so deeply in Jeremiah’s heart that he remarked it was like having fire “shut up in his bones.” Now that’s passion and God was its source!
What about love?
In the three cases above,I believe love for God was what prompted all to allow God to establish His passion in their lives. Nehemiah fell deeply in love with a God who wanted to restore a city so His name would be great in the earth. Nehemiah’s love moved him to obedience which was the outward picture of the spiritual passion burning in his heart.
The two disciples fell deeply in love with a risen Savior who was establishing His church so the world could know who He is. Their love for this Savior prompted them to faithful obedience which,again,served as an outward demonstration of the passion burning in their hearts.
Jeremiah fell deeply in love with a God who wanted His people to stop prostituting themselves with foreign gods and idols. His love for God prompted him to faithful obedience which,like the others,showed outwardly the passion of his heart.
So how does this prompting love increase in our lives?
I like what Philippians 1:9-10 has to say. The love God wants each of to grow in is a love that actively seeks the benefit of others. In light of our discussion on spiritual passion,I believe the increase of such love also applies to our love for God and His purposes in the earth (MT 6:33).
To me,this growing,ever-increasing love is what fuels my growing passion for the things of God. As I fall more deeply in love with God,my passion for the things of God increases. I have also learned that as this passion increases in my life,I am more easily led,by God,into the will of God for my life. It could be said that when our passions are godly,God can use them to more fully lead us towards His perfect will for our lives.
Is this increasing love accomplished by God our by us?
Love,of course,is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. As such it is something only God can produce in the humble heart that desires its presence. The word “abound” in the Philippians passage is a subjunctive verb. This denotes a repeated action that is contingent upon some existing condition. Could this pre-existing condition be a life that is not quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit? If the Holy Spirit is not being quenched or grieved in a believer’s life,God’s divine love will naturally and “all by itself” abound and increase.
This love can abound again and again because divine love never reaches a saturation point. Further,as God’s love fuels our desires and passions,we begin to grow in spiritual knowledge,insight and discernment. These three things help us live with a keener sense of God’s will,purpose,timing and call on our lives. This is exemplified again in Nehemiah,the two disciples and Jeremiah. As their love for God grew,their insight into the heart of God also grew. This increase in insight,discernment and knowledge served as a catalyst God used to further inspire their spiritual passion for the very things resonating in His heart.
What if passion for the things of God is still lacking in my life?
Good news! Such passion is not lacking in God and He wants to initiate more of it in all of us. We can’t create spiritual passion,but we can allow God to work His passion into us. Moses didn’t create his passion for the Israelites’ freedom,God did! Paul didn’t create his passion for a fledgling,young church,God did. Esther didn’t create her passion to save her fellow citizens from Mordecai’s evil machinations,God did.
So it is with us;God will create His passion in us as we grow more deeply in love with Him. Spiritual passion comes from God and it is formed in the incubator of our relationship with Him.
So,as I see it,our part isn’t to seek passion;it’s to seek God who gives us His passion. Our part isn’t to abound in love;it’s to seek God who gives us more and more of His abounding love. Our part isn’t to attain greater insight,knowledge and discernment;it’s to seek God who can increase these things in us. As Jesus said,“First,seek God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you.”