The whole world is rushing to get rid of passion. They think that if they get rid of anxiety, anger, sadness, desire, burdens, goals, fear etc. Then they will be happy. NO! They will be the living dead. They crush out any real life filling passion with alcohol, TV, videos, video games, food, sports, pot, pain killers, work and even false religiosity. Then they no longer feel bad but they also no longer feel at all.

God wants me to feel deeply and passionately. I should be more like Jacob fighting for a new name, Jeremiah lamenting for Israel, the Phoenician lady begging for her daughters healing, the dad begging Jesus to heal his demon possessed son, Jesus crying over Jerusalem. Passion can be painful. Paul describes his passion for Israel and the newborn church,” I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” I can’t even imagine such a burden.

I remember a young protestor who held up a sign saying, “There is nothing worth dying for!” The whole country gasped, because if there is nothing worth dying for then there is nothing worth living for either. Personally, I have no problem with a quick dying for Jesus and getting it over with. It is the daily dying to self that I dread. Jesus loves with and infinite passion and wants me to allow Him to pour his love for his people and anger at sin and compassion and sadness and tears into my heart, and through me into the needy world. Now that would take a great dying to myself. I fear that the intensity would rebound and burn me out.

This is when I recall my basic tool for detecting when I have crossed the line from doing my obedient part into taking on his part. (Every time I feel overwhelmed and stressed, I have crossed that line.) It is not my part to generate passion or bear the burden of caring. It is my part to ask God to help me see as He sees and to start praying for the needs that He shows me. It is usually enough to take on the needs that come naturally into my awareness as I go through life. I don’t have to take on the whole world. Still, even the little piece of life that I see will serve to drive me to the Lord for grace to pray and reach out to the situations that pop up. I need to remember that only by allowing myself to be a fellow sufferer, I will also open myself up into joining into the abounding “consolations” of Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:5 It seems that it really is ” No pain no gain”

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