Sustainable Passion for God

There’s been something on my mind and heart the past few weeks that I wanted to share. It has to do with how we as followers of Christ can realistically sustain a passion for God for the long haul of life. I’ve heard people say that life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Well, I believe that’s true. We’re in this thing for the long haul and we need to figure out how to sustain our passion. I’ve seen too many Christians fall by the side of the road exhausted, burned out, with nothing left in the tank to finish the race. So what’s the answer?
First of all, we need to realize that having a sustaining passion for God is not the same as having an emotional experience of God’s presence in our lives. No one can sustain an emotional high forever. Life just doesn’t work that way and frankly, we weren’t made that way. Our bodies and minds cannot sustain heart pounding emotions 24/7. No, it’s something deeper than emotion. We can call it commitment, steadfastness, perseverance, all of these things, but how do we sustain it? If it’s not emotional, what is it? I believe it starts with a deep, abiding love for God and what Christ has done for us on the cross. When I think of how much God loves me, that he sent his only Son to die for me and pay the penalty for my sins, I cannot help but fall in love with him. And love is where it starts. John says in 1 John 4:19 that we love Him because He first loved us. Jesus showed us what love is and he modeled love in everything he did. I believe it was this same love in Jesus that drove him to the cross and sustained his passion for God. 
In addition to having a deep love for God, we need to learn the principle of abiding in Christ. Abiding literally means making our home with Christ. No matter where I may travel or visit, I always find my way home, and home with Jesus is where we need to find ourselves as followers of Christ. In John 15:5 it says, “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Notice it says “much fruit”. This is the essence of having a passion for God, bearing much fruit for his kingdom. And apart from him, our passion will wane and eventually die out. This is why so many Christians are not able to sustain a passion for God; they are trying to serve him in their own strength instead of abiding in Christ, making Christ their center of attention and dwelling. 
But there is another aspect of sustainable passion that I want to mention. That is the concept of sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Now you may disagree with me, but I believe the Bible teaches that suffering for the sake of Christ actually increases our passion for serving him. You see, when we suffer, we learn to lean on, to depend on Jesus. We find a refuge in him, a strong tower, a place of rest. It’s a little bit like the old childhood adage, “My daddy can beat up your daddy!”  In the spiritual world, that statement is absolutely true! My spiritual Father (God) can and already has beat up the father of this world (Satan). When I lean into Jesus for rest, he fights my battles. I rest in him and he fights for me. I’d say that’s a winning combination. I’m reminded of what Paul said in Romans 5:3-5, “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” I truly believe that’s the key to unlocking sustainable passion in each of our lives!
If you want to sustain your passion for God and finish this race of life strong, follow these guidelines. See how God will do a mighty work in and through you! To God be the glory!
Pastor Jim