This is the second part of the ‘Adding Power to Our Passion’ post. Read the first part here.
Often these words of life will not be easy to hear. Look at the words of life that Jesus spoke. They didn’t end up getting him very far in the popularity stakes. But they were words of life nonetheless.
For many people this will be a difficult thing to do, as we have been hurt at different times in our life. This is where we need to be sensitive to people, and sensitive to the Spirit leading us in our own lives. It is not loving to barge into someone’s life speaking truth but without love. That is just destructive.
Commitment to growth, the written Word of God, and the people of God. These all help us to change. to live out our real passions. But there is still one thing needed, and it goes back to our commitment to growth. Because we don’t have it in us to change on our own strength, we need the Spirit of God to enter into our hearts to infuse us with the life of Jesus. It is removing ourselves from the throne of our lives and placing the Spirit of God on it.
The word I love the most to describe this process is ‘surrender.’ I love it because it is so counter-cultural, and because it is so challenging. It is only when I surrender, when I run up the white flag so to speak, and say to God – just like Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane – not mine but your will be done. When we do this we find our greatest joy.
Living the life of Jesus is the most exciting life possible. And it makes sense. If we are created to live like this by a God who wants nothing but the best for us, then it is going to be the best for us. God is not a killjoy. As Bono has said, every moment of every day is to be enjoyed. But it is not a ‘joy’ based on circumstances; it is a joy despite circumstances.
Jesus said he has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. To live as God intends is to live with His Spirit infusing us, empowering us, to do what is right. We have been created by God to be fully alive. This is actually the glory of God, as St Irenaeus has said. When we submit ourselves to the Spirit of God, something is released within us that allows to more closely live out our true passions.
Our true passion is to be conformed to the image of Christ. Jesus said eighty-seven times in the gospels to ‘follow me.’ As we are conformed more to the image of Christ, as we are transformed by the renewing of our mind, we will become people who are more loving, more present for others, more committed to justice, more passionate about God’s kingdom becoming a present reality in the life of the world. And we will each do this with the special, unique gifts that God has endowed us with. For some it will be writing, for others it will be doing finance, and for others again it will be getting into politics. Whatever it is for you, do it all for the glory of God. You will never be the same again, nor will you ever want to be. And when you do it in community with like-minded others, you will find yourself a part of something so exciting, so wonderful, that you will never want to look back to a life when you were without meaning, without God in the world.
Finding your true self is not what it seems; it is not what our culture tells you it is. And, sadly, it is not what much of the church tells you it is. Jesus never talked about self-fulfillment; he talked about self-denial. Whoever wants to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for the sake of the Gospel will find it. This is how we add power to our passion.