Saturday, July 30, 2011

EXCHANGING PASSION: THE WORLD, RELIGION, OR CHRIST?

BEFORE CHRIST, WE WERE PASSIONATE ABOUT MANY THINGS.  Passion is another way to say "devotion".  It means, we were focused-on, devoted to, spent our time and money and energy on.  One of my brothers in Christ brought up, in another blog, the fact that it's hard to know how to direct our passions after coming to Christ, because, like David, we will be ridiculed if we express our true love for Christ in front of others.  (Remember when David danced before the Lord in a worship procession?  He embarrassed his wife, and all his friends with his sincerely joyful expression of His love for God).

Here's what I wrote back to his interesting and important point.

"Amen, guys.  And let's face it about passion.  Before Christ, we have plenty of passion, for ourselves and our wicked ways, right?  Whatever we want, we go after.  It's ok in the world to be passionate to the point of idiocy over sports, sex, rock and roll, TV, drugs, booze, travel, books, education, business and anything else that gets you hooked.  But when we come to Christ, we're supposed to match the current definition of "spiritual" in our churches.  At least in most of our affluent, modern churches in America.

We just exchange one conforming devotion for another.  Example:  Before, you were devoted to some ear-burning band from the world.  Now, you are a Christian so you go for some acceptable ear-burning band in the acceptable "Christian music scene."  Example:   Before, you were passionate about your favorite R-rated (maybe X) movies.  Now you dig around to find some "Christian movies" with good values you can be talking about.  Example:  Before, you were devoted to hitting the bars, now you are devoted to hitting the church for the latest "video/music worship" thing.  We've tried in the churches to offer people alternatives to the latest, greatest, worldly stuff.  After all, don't we have to have these Christian-focused diversions to keep our people off the other stuff?

Well, how about, NO.  Our new passion is Christ.  Our new passion is His Word.  Our new passion is to know Him, His death, His resurrection, His will.  His life is in us, our life here is lost so we can find ourselves in Him.  We now have passion for the people of God, and building up the Body of Christ, and living only for the Kingdom of God and His Son Jesus Christ.  

Passion redirected should be redirected toward this seeking Christ.  We should be, like Paul, turning from status and wealth (Roman citizenship and standing and family money) to embracing this Christ-life of denial and self-sacrifice.  Like Paul, maybe we must abandon religion, even religious Christianity (like his Jewish zeal) and embrace this simple, non-religious life of faith and love in Christ.  No standing in the world, no wealth pursued, no religious traditions bought into.  All is Christ, and Christ in us.  WOW.

Brother, thanks for bringing up the passion thing.  It opened my eyes today.  Blessings in Christ to you guys."

Do any of you see this in your churches in other countries?  Do those of you who live in Africa, or Asia, or Europe, or Australasia, or South America, or elsewhere in Central America and North America see this
attempt to just replace worldly passions with "acceptable Christian passions"?

Please comment!

A. Brother

3 comments:

  1. The hardest thing that God revealed to me about me was that there was nothing about me that was worth saving. Not even the bits that appeared good. God did not want to save anything, including my passion. When I was first saved I put the zeal that I had for the world into the kingdom of God. I hit a few people round the head with a Bible. This passion led me quickly into Phariseeism, then I became twice a daughter of hell.

    My point is that 'dead men don't have passion'. God does not want to reform our old passion into something new, he wants it dead. He will provide new life and new passions.

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  2. Dear Anonymous:
    A fantastic summary. "God does not want to reform our old passion into something new, he wants it dead. He will provide new life and new passions."
    Exactly. What I see in the Word of God is exactly that. God says that when we die to self, "behold, all things become new." Not reformed, but new.

    The "gospel" that was taught me revered the cross, and the death of Jesus on that cross, but did not teach me that I had to die, too, if I was going to follow Him. This reverence for the cross means nothing if we don't obey, going from Gethsemane to Golgotha with Christ.

    I remember growing up singing, "I will cherish the old, rugged cross; until my trophies at last I say down, I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown."

    This picture is all wrong. Here we have a man coming to the cross, and worshiping Christ as He hangs there in death, and hugging the cross, laying at its foot, and revering Christ in Christ's death. Yet the resurrection is our power, and going through the death of Christ ourselves, giving up self, dying to the world and our own passions, is the beginning point that leads to our own resurrection in Christ.

    This man clinging to the cross in the song was rather supposed to follow Christ onto the cross, letting Christ take him through that death, and then he was to be resurrected with Christ, by Christ's power, and then take up his cross daily and follow the Lord Jesus on His Way.

    That's why the early Christ-followers termed it The Way. It was not a place, it was a journey, through death and resurrection, and into new life with Christ. And that on a daily basis!

    Great observation, Anonymous. And are there others of you who've been "fed" the wrong gospel, who can share your experiences?

    ReplyDelete
  3. What is our cross, our cross is to deny the flesh so we can live in the spirit and bear fruit.

    The first offence was with a tree, with wood. Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus he could distinguish for himself what is good and evil, he was never supposed to do that, he needed only to eat from Gods tree, trusting God alone to know what is good and evil, trusting God had it all covered.

    Since Adam decided that was not good enough he desired the dark fruit, and the ability to 'work out' his own salvation instead of just trusting and abiding to be saved. Adam could now work out what only God should know. For the offence Jesus came and hung on the cross (the wood of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil) he carried, those he came to saved killed him on it, because they wanted to DESERVE salvation not be given it. So Jesus God in the flesh came to keep perfectly the law, the curse brought by Adams desire to determine good and evil, he carried it for us, nailed the requirements of the offence to it, made a show of the enemy and us.

    Yes, now we accept that free salvation, but we must indeed carry that cross still choosing not eat that forbidden fruit, but only abide and eat the fruit of the tree of life. One day we will be free from this stuggle, but God has provided his Holy Spirit in grace to provide us the power (if we trust it) to overcome the curse of that tree.

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