Of Passion & Purpose

Jeff Holy Spirit, Worship

“God loves with a great love the one whose heart is bursting with a passion for the impossible.” – William Booth

You need to know yourself… and you need to know God. You also need to recognize that marvelous things occur when these two pieces of knowledge intersect, because this is the whole of the Christian experience: bringing all that you know of yourself and laying it before all that you know about God. This is the essence of worship. When we lose our vision of God – His nature, His will, His majesty, His immensity – we will gravitate to other things in order to sense that we have some sort of anchor in this life. Those substitutes for God inevitably prove faulty, and we will then find ourselves adrift in life. Equally, when we lose our moorings for who we are, and who we are to be in Christ, there is a hollowness that finds us, and precious treasures are lost – peace, joy, power, faithfulness and…vision for the future. Believe me, I know more about seasons like this than I would wish to admit.  Staleness can find any of us, but we need not remain in that barren place.

I concluded that life isn’t much worth living in the absence of passion and purpose. If I’m being honest, I arrived at this conclusion long before being brought to Jesus Christ for eternal life. As a notorious rebel, I gave it my all, refusing to hold back, and I lived with all my might for the impulses of my flesh; I also gravitated toward people who shared this trait with me. After being rescued by Jesus in 1994 I found myself, as one awakened from the dead, exploding inside with this new dynamic to my life. I not only had passion, but now I also received a clear purpose for living. I can recall that, in those early days of my radical conversion, I felt that I was literally seeing things with new eyes. The physical skies seemed bluer, the grass greener, smiles brighter, words on paper were more crisp…everything was different…everything was better. It was as if I had gotten Lasik surgery on my soul. My understanding of the intangibles was also transformed, as the mysteries of God’s ways were now beginning to be understood by me, and biblical truths really made sense. Before my conversion the Scriptures had seemed to be an ancient and foreign language which sounded meaningless to me. When the Holy Spirit summoned me four months after my conversion, and called me to preach His word, I finally knew my purpose on earth and, at the age of 24, I embraced His commission and have not looked back. Time has not dulled the sense of urgency in me, and I’ve not diminished in my love for communicating my King and His message to anyone who will listen. I am a happy, focused and purposed pilgrim.

But lately I sense that He is requiring more of me. He has allowed me to “max out” where He has led me thus far. No, it’s not about where I am, it’s about how I am. God desires more fruit and fuller fruit from His servant, and for that to happen, I must decrease. I must pursue change…and I have been doing exactly that for several of years now. The old wineskin cannot hold His new outpouring of wine, and I have volunteered for Him to overhaul me yet again.  Let’s be honest with one another: there is far too much of me and far too much of you that still remains in the mix. I’m not saying that we aren’t to be an active part of God’s work through us – our gifts, our abilities, our resources and even our personality are tools in the Master’s hands. Yet, if we are not wise and cautious, sometimes we reverse things and live as if God is the tool and we are the masters, as we seem to occasionally endeavor to use Him to bring our plan to fruition. This is a very real danger, and one that I’m unwilling to walk into. Forgive the personal focus of today’s post, but my life is not my own and I can only pour out what He pours in. I want to pour His best out from myself so that He will be glorified, others will be edified and I will experience the deep and lasting pleasure of Father’s passion in the purpose He has given me. He is stirring me and something beautiful is coming. I’m too old for impulsive declarations and bandwagon brigades, but I’m not so old that I’ve lost my expectation for my limitless King to continue to demonstrate His holy penchant to constantly make things new. Something is coming.

Perhaps, as you might read what I’ve written today about my own heart and thirst for greater vision, you confess that your life could use a little of the same. Remember, the richest of living comes as you pour yourself out with passion and purpose for the glory of God. But He has to pour it in before we can pour it out. You, friend, were made to be a pipe for Him, not a bowl. God pouring into you is designed for God to pour out from you. That’s why He made you. That’s why He has redeemed you. That’s why He has your ear each day – to whisper His reassurance in one moment and to bellow out His hope to you in the next. Our God speaks, and I so long to hear what He will say about my tomorrows. If you share this hunger, let’s do this journey side by side into the deeper.  He calls us all to an adventure but most people around you answer lesser calls and cannot hear His today.  As the writer of Hebrews said twenty centuries ago, “I am persuaded better things of you (Hebrews 6:9).” Let others squander the remainder of their days. But not you.

You were saved for something greater than middle ground.