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What Are You Passionate About?February 1, 2018
The founder of Voice of the Martyrs Richard Wurmbrand once said ‘A man really believes not what he recites in his creed, but only the things he is willing to die for’. Perhaps none of you reading this will have to die a martyr’s death for your obedience to Christ but let me ask you this. What are you passionate about? Is it golf, hunting or fishing? Perhaps you are passionate about traveling, music or reading the latest best-selling novel, or playing sports like tennis or running. I’m passionate about biking. I can talk with excitement about my Cervélo carbon fiber road bike and my rides around Burke county, being chased by dogs and the time or two I was nearly run over by an impatient motorist. I’ve concluded most people talk with enthusiasm to others about the things they are truly passionate about.
When I lived in Amsterdam I traveled for nearly a month with Jaap, one of the elders of the church I was attending, visiting 3 missionary couples who were planting churches in northern and central Italy. My Dutch friend was passionately in love with Jesus and had no difficulty sharing the gospel with others. He once told me that since I did not share the gospel very often with lost people then I must not have been very passionate about my faith or had much love for Jesus. I felt insulted at the time because I was in Seminary studying and reading lots of books about theology and missions but I have never forgotten those words. I have never forgotten those words because they were true. On the outside, it looked like I was in love with Jesus because I knew all the right things to say and how to act around other believers but on the inside my faith was dead. I was passionate about my dreams and happiness but my lack of conviction about sharing the gospel was simply a reflection of what was going on inside of me. How can any of us who have been born-again, redeemed through Christ’s blood, received the forgiveness for our trespasses according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us (Eph. 1:7-8) not want to share this GOOD NEWS with people who are lost. Is it because we don’t care or do we not believe what Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 when he says speaking about lost people ‘They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might’. I’m convinced more than ever if we really understood what Paul writes about in Ephesians 1 and recognized the inheritance which we have obtained in Christ which gives us hope, our hearts would be set on fire and our thirst to do evangelism that leads to discipleship would be unquenchable.
Believer, I’m not writing to be preachy, to make you feel guilty or act ‘holier than thou’ because I’m so passionate about sharing the gospel. For years, I was not. But God invaded my heart and showed me from scripture that so much of Paul’s teaching in Ephesians is centered around our identity in and unity with Christ and the supremacy of Christ over all. And when I started to understand that I was united with Christ a desire to pursue the knowledge of God and further my understanding of Him and a deepened love for Him increased. It was then and only then that all the constraints of talking about Jesus and the gospel, the good news of great joy for ALL the people, gradually started to crumble. I want to challenge you to search your heart and ask God not to make you passionate for evangelism but for God to make you passionate for him. For a church that is passionate about God will begin to echo the prayer of the apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10 … that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death’ and share that message with others.