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     It's kind of trendy these days to ask a person what their passion is, what moves them, excites them, has their focus.  Very often, the focus of our passion tends to change with our environment, age, and emotions.  We tend to have very short attention spans, and so, our passions, our fire, tend to burn out very quickly.  This leads me to believe that we don't really understand just what the word "passion" really means.  If we did, we'd likely be a lot more sparing in our use of it, especially in the church.
     It's not as if we don't use the word a great deal.  Many refer to Christ's death and resurrection as "the Passion."  For a number of years now, there have been Passion conferences geared towards young people, and heavily attended by them.  The word is found throughout scripture, one of my favorite being in 2 Kings 19:31, where, after promising through His prophet Isaiah, that the people of Judah would be delivered from the terrible threat of the Assyrians, added that, "the passion of the Lord Almighty will make this happen."  So, what are we missing here?  What is being lost in translation?  I've a friend that says that we who are His, too often are found speaking "earthish," when we should be speaking "heavenish."  That is, we need to understand and speak the language of the Kingdom, the language of the Father.  Jesus said that though we're in the world, we're not to be of it.  We need to know the language of the culture we're in, but as citizens of the Kingdom, we have to be, as my friend says, bi-lingual, able to speak and live and Kingdom language to a fallen world.  

    The root meaning of the word passion is, "a willingness to be squeezed to death."  Certainly this was found in the life and ministry of Christ, yet to what degree is it found in the lives of we who claim to follow Him?  We regularly say we want His will for our lives, but what are you and I willing to endure to see His purposes in and through us come about?  How much of our lives are we willing to have placed in the winepress in order to have the "new wine" we're so fond of talking about.  We're eager to talk about having "new wineskins" instead of old, but much less eager to be squeezed to death in order to have the new wine.  Oswald Chambers said that wherever He places us, even in the most obscure, unrecognized, and lonely places, we're to live in total devotion to Him, "with all of our might."  Many can do this when the spotlight is upon them and the attention of people is given, but how many can do so in the darkness, seen by no one, and all the while being squeezed to death in the process, yet living with all of our might, for Him?
    Matthew 22:14 is another of those much quoted, but little understood verses.  Jesus said, "Many are called, but few are chosen."  Wade Taylor translated this verse as, "Many are called, but few are willing to pay the price in order to be chosen."  This does not discount the free grace of God, or promote a works religion.  Yet in this age of "cheap grace," that knows little of a cross bearing life, of a willingness to follow Him wherever He leads at whatever the cost, a willingness to be chosen to enter into the sufferings of Christ, the word passion will remain a vague term, filled mostly with emotion.  What does the word mean to you and I.  Who are we found standing among today?  The many, or the few?

Blessings,
Pastor O 

 

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