Do you have passion? Of course you do. Like most, though, it likely ebbs and flows. I am reminded of the story about an inexperienced real-estate salesman who asked his boss if he could refund the deposit to an angry customer who had discovered that the empty lot he had bought was under water. "What kind of salesman are you?" the boss scolded. "Get out there and sell him a boat."
One of Christianity's core values is passion for God. Passion is a good subject to delve into this month of February. We have many passions, I suppose - passion for our spouse and loved ones, passion for our country, passion for our favorite sport teams, passion for our particular hobbies, and passion for our jobs, to name just a few.
Passion for God is a powerful statement. One of the definitions of passion is intense enthusiasm for something, a keen interest in something. So, when we say that we have passion for God, we're stating that we have an intense enthusiasm for God, a keen interest in God. Some synonyms for passion are excitement, zeal, delight, fervency, desire, hunger, thirst, craving, conviction, drive. When we say we are passionate for God, we are speaking in terms of having desire, hunger, thirst, a craving for God - that we have zeal and drive, fervency and excitement, and of course, love.
When Jesus asked, "Which is the most important of all the commandments?" you can feel the intensity in His answer. He said: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength." That's a powerfully passionate statement. As Christians, we are to love God with all of our being - with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. That's a call for rich, deep, and full love -- a complete love, a love-God-with-everything-you've-got love. Saint Augustive said, "To fall in love with God is the greatest of romances, to seek Him the greatest adventure, to find Him the greatest human achievement."
Our love for God results in our desire to build a deep relationship with God, and putting effort into strengthening that relationship is something that we have to do. How can we cultivate such a close relationship with God? By giving time and priority to the relationship; by reading and meditating on God's Word; by having regular communication with God in prayer; by obeying God's Word and the things God tells us to do; by having a clean heart through regularly confessing and asking for forgiveness for our sins; by seeking to glorify God by our commitment to follow God as we seek God's purpose and will for our lives; and by discovering what is important to us. All of this means that passion isn't passive. Being passionate about something means you're going to do something about it.
And remember, deep love develops over time. As we see God's faithfulness to us in our daily lives, God's touches of love and blessing, God's supply of our needs, and particularly God's grace and sustaining power during times of trial and affliction, our love and trust for God grows stronger.
Many people feel that they don't have enough passion for God. They don't feel an "emotional" passion, which may cause them to think that their level of passion is lacking. Not all of us experience feelings or highs in our spiritual life; some people are inclined that way while others are not. You don't have to have feelings of passion to know that you love God deeply or to accept God's calling for your life. Feelings aren't the proper measuring stick for passion. It's not a question of what you feel internally. What matters is that your passion moves you to action, that it urges you to take steps on God's behalf, that it energizes you to be a messenger of the Good News to those around you.
As you develop a closer relationship with God, one of friendship and intimacy, your passion will grow, and as it does, doing the things God asks you to do will naturally follow. Your passion will be manifested in your resolve or determination to follow God, like some of God's greatest servants who resolved to stake their lives and ministries on God's promises, regardless of feelings.