TEXT: Romans 12:11
Sometimes you lose passion for God because you’re not spending time around other people who have a passion for God. You’re not spending time around other Christians. You’re not getting any fellowship. I love this incredibly practical verse in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, just common sense from the Bible. “Two are better than one… because if one falls down his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” We need each other. We all fall sometimes. We all stumble at times. So we all need people to help us up in our lives.
If you’ve been around Word of Hope for any amount of time you’ve heard what our Senior Pastor saying about hundreds of times, but I’m going to say it again because it’s so important, “You must be involved in Cell Groups!” This is why it’s so important. Those of you who have thought many times maybe, “I should do that,” maybe this is the day when you realize, “I’m going to do that!” Do not wait until the crisis comes to think, Now I need a small group. You’re not going to have time to get in a group then. We all fall sometimes. We all go through crises in life. So you find a cell group. You get the support system in your life so you can keep the passion alive even during the difficult times.
It’s not only for the difficult times. It’s also for the good times. Human beings were made for relationships. We’re made to live that way. In a prison, when they want to give somebody the ultimate punishment in a prison, where do they put them? They put them in solitary. Solitary confinement. Because we were made to be around other people. That’s how God created and made us. Whether you’re married or single you need relationships with others. Others who are trying to live with passion for God in their lives, to keep that passion for God real in life.
Having been a pastor for a while now, I’ve seen a lot of people continue with their passion for God and a lot of people lose their passion for God. Those that lose their passion for God there’s a predictable pattern. You can see it the same way almost every time. I’ll tell you where the pattern begins.
- The first thing that happens is the person stops coming to church. I’m not talking about the ritual of coming to church. I’m talking about they draw back from the relationships of being around other believers. There’s a lot of reasons we tell ourselves that’s ok. Summer… I’ll watch it on the internet… I’ve got other things to do… I’ll get back to it soon… but whatever the reason you start not spending time with other people who have a desire to have passion for God.
- The next thing that always happens is your heart starts to turn cold. You start to feel far from God. You start to feel like God’s far from you. What you really need is to be around other people who can warm up the love that you have for God in your life. It’s a need in all of us to be around other people to have this passion for God. If you have no inspiring contact with other believers your heart wills grow cold. It’s inevitable.
Greg Lauri was recently interviewing one of the women from the Survivor show, a Christian woman. She’d gone on the show and been told she could bring five things to the island or wherever they were. She said, one of them I want to bring is a Bible. They said, “No, you can’t bring a Bible. Somebody already did that. You’ve got to bring something different.” So she went to this island without a Bible, with no Christian relationships and watched what happened to her life. She fell right off the table. Her character began to change, the way she talked, the kind of words she used, the ugly words she used. The attitudes she had towards others, the jealousy, the hatred. All of it immediately came into her life. She told Greg, “I didn’t realize how weak I really was.”
I also need relationships with other believers to grow. We all need it! Tell to the person next to you, “We need it!” I’ve grown as a believer is because I’ve been around other people who are growing as believers. That’s how God made all of us. We need relationships in order to grow. That’s what makes it happen.
Hebrews 10:24-25 “Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let’s not give up meeting together and let us encourage one another.”
The sixth passion killer is…
6. AN UNCLEAR PURPOSE.
When you forget the purpose of your life that is a sure way to kill your passion for life and for God. If you don’t know the purpose for life, why bother? Why get up in the morning? Why put forth the effort? Why get out of bed? Life without purpose is activity without direction. It’s motion without meaning. Life without purpose is trivial, petty, and pointless.
My guess is that the people at Word of Hope church know more about the purposes of God than probably any other church. We talk about it all the time. Our Senior Pastor always mentions it here in our church…But even still it’s easy to forget why we’re here on earth. We get distracted by budgets and bills and babies and boxing or basketball and all kinds of other things. We forget the five reasons God put us here on earth. Whenever you forget why God put you on earth you’re going to drift toward apathy and lethargy. Who cares? Why get out of bed if there’s no meaning, if there’s no purpose to my life. Maybe you’ve felt like Isaiah who said in Isaiah 49 “I’ve labored to no purpose and I’ve spent my strength in vain and for nothing.”
Passion and purpose go together. When you have a clear purpose it’s going to give you a lot of passion. But it’s got to be God’s purposes for your life. If you’re only living for yourself, that’s a pretty dinky purpose. That isn’t going to make you very passionate. In fact it’s pathetic. “I’m living for me.” That’ll give you a lot of energy to get out of bed in the morning! You need a cause greater than yourself. That gives life significance and gives life meaning. The more you understand God’s purposes for your life and the more you live those purposes the more passionate you’re going to be.
Hobbs wrote this about passion. He said, “Passion is waking up in the morning wherever you are and bounding out of bed because you know there’s something out there that you love to do, that you believe in, that God made you for and you’re good at, something that’s bigger than you are and you can hardly wait to get at it again. It’s something that you’d rather be doing than anything else and you wouldn’t give it up for money because it means more to you than money.”
Nothing matters more than knowing and living the five purposes that God put you on earth to fulfill. Nothing else can compensate for not living those.
Not fame, not wealth, not success, not pleasure. Nothing can compensate for life without meaning. So whenever your purpose gets unclear and you tend to forget why we’re here in the first place you’re going to lose your passion.
An unclear purpose will kill your passion.
7. A MALNOURISHED SPIRIT.
Every day you face all kinds of circumstances that conspire to shrink your spirit and shrivel your heart. You’re going to get up tomorrow morning. You’re going to have distractions and disappointments. You’re going to have conflicts and you’re going to have changes and challenges. You’re going to have problems and pressures. You’re going to have frustrations and fears and failures and fatigue. All of these things fall in on you to shrivel your heart and shrink your spirit. So you must intentionally nourish your spirit. If you don’t do it nobody else is going to do it for you. Nobody else is going to nourish your spirit. So if you don’t take the time and trouble to do it, it’s going to shrivel up.
How do you do that? Through the five purposes. You need times of worship with God everyday, where you get to know Him — private worships. You need fellowship with other believers. You need to read God’s word and grow to be more like Christ. You need to have a ministry where you’re using your talents to help other people. And you need a mission in the world where you’re sharing your faith. If you just choose one of those purposes and forget the others you’re going to be imbalanced and you’re going to lose your passion. You need them all.
So how do I do it? How do I plug into God? How do I have this living, vital, daily relationship with God that keeps my spirit nourished?
The starting point is to remember how God feels about you. You know it but you forget it. Did you know that God is hopelessly in love with you? The reason that you’re not passionate about God is you have forgotten how passionate God is about you.
Exodus 31:14 “You must worship only the Lord, for He is a God who is passionate about His relationship with you.” Did you know that? Did you know that God is passionate about you? He’s got going, “Oh, yeah, another one of My creations… next!” No, He is passionate about you. He made you to love you. You were created as an object of His love. The more you understand how God is passionate about you, the more passionate you’re going to get about God. When you forget how much God loves you, you start blowing Him off and going, “Forget it! I’ve got other things. There’s a good movie on TV tonight.”
How do we know that God is passionate about us? The proof is the cross. Jesus stretched out His hands and they nailed Him to the cross and He was in essence saying, “I’d rather die than live without you. That’s how passionate I am about My creation. I made you. I love you. And I’d rather die than live without you.”
In fact, the suffering of Jesus on the cross- His Passion. You’ve probably heard about communities or towns that have Passion plays. What is a passion play? It is drama that depicts the suffering of Jesus Christ. Jesus never wanted us to forget what He did for us on the cross. So He gave us the symbol of communion. He said, “When you take communion I want you to remember My passion. I want you to remember how passionate I am about you.”