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People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives. Proverbs 16:2

passion 2.3.2016I remember sitting in the pew listening to the old preacher. I have to confess I did what many of us preachers/speakers do. Rather than listening to the message I critiqued the message, the content and the delivery. I came to a conclusion that, while my friend was a godly man and had a passion for Jesus and others, he wasn’t an effective speaker.

As his presentation drew to a close he did what I considered would be ‘ministerial suicide’. He gave an altar call and asked people who had been spoken to by his message to come forward for prayer. I remember thinking how bad I felt for him as I bowed my head. I’d been there many times before. You preach your heart out and when it comes to decision time, no one responds.

I heard some rustling, which I assumed was the sound of people shifting uneasily waiting for the pain to be over. Someone whispered, ‘excuse me’ and I moved so someone could move quietly past me. As they did I looked to the front. The entire stage area was crowded with people kneeling and praying. Some were weeping!

I remember thinking, rather flippantly I admit, ‘How on earth did this happen? That may have been the poorest presentation I’ve heard.’

Later, I talked with my friend and he asked me how I thought it went. I avoided telling him my critique notes that had been accumulating in my mind and simply said “Well, you certainly made an impact on the people. I was amazed at how many people came forward for prayer.”

My old friend smiled. “You know, I think that may have been one of the worst prestations I’ve ever made, but I agree. God certainly used my efforts for his good. I guess the old adage “passion beats technique every time’ was true in this case.

His words hit home. There are so many times in our lives when we have a passion to influence people. When those passions are built on selfish motives such as gaining popularity, ‘atta boys’ and prestige we have our reward.

When our passions are built on Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, great things happen. I’m still learning that time spent at my desk in study is vitally important, but the most important time is the time I spend on my knees. God doesn’t pay as much attention to ‘how we do things’ as he does ‘why we do things’. Passion [for Jesus] beats technique every time.

PRAYER: Father God, thank you for the many opportunities we have in life to be examples of your love, grace and mercy. Help us to focus more on our motives than our actions and to rely on your Holy Spirit to guide us in how we can influence others for the Kingdom. Amen.


My God, I want to do what you want. Your teachings are in my heart.” Psalm 40:8 (NCV)

We say we want God’s will to be done. We say we want good to triumph and evil to be defeated. But what is it that keeps those things from happening in our personal lives? I’m not talking about the world economy, or solving the political upheaval in far-off lands. I’m talking about the inner turmoil that goes on in our own little circle of influence, the world that makes up our families, our churches and our communities.

Passion plays a huge part in our success or struggle. What makes our hearts burn with passion?

Attitude is another big part to the puzzle. When things don’t go as planned I have two options available to me. I can get angry, bitter and resentful and do my best to retaliate and get justice for my cause or I can work within the system to bring change and accept the results.

Passion is the power, the energy behind our success. Attitude is the rudder that steers us through the storms of life. If our passion is for God and his ways then everything we desire will be within his will. Do you love to sing? Sing! Do you love to write? Write! Do you love to garden, build, and serve the needs of others? Look at the things you desire and measure them against God’s word.

If our passion is for ourselves then even if we get what we want materialistically, we won’t be satisfied. It was true with King Solomon when he looked out over his kingdom. He had everything he wanted. He says in Ecclesiastes he didn’t keep himself from one desire. Vacation homes, women, money, all the toys in the world didn’t bring him happiness. It’s still true today. People who win the lottery often end up bankrupt within a few years as well as divorced or relationally destroyed!

Cultivate passion through God’s word. Let the guidance of Holy Scripture direct your thoughts and emotions. Seek the counsel of Godly men and women around you during the questionable times. Don’t let earthly passion override Godly passion.

Then, let an attitude of love steer your thoughts, words and actions in the midst of this chaos called life. The balance in your bank account shouldn’t direct your desire to serve God and people. The reaction of the legal system, your spouse, your boss or your friends shouldn’t direct your response to anything at all! Our attitude should be the attitude of Christ which always showed love and compassion to those in need. Jesus was far more disappointed in ‘religious people’ than those who struggle with life.

A passion driven by God. An attitude of love and mercy. Two key ingredients to winning in life!

PRAYER: Father God. I want so badly to follow you but there are so many things that call for my passions. Forgive me for the times I allow the passions and desires of this world to overcome me. Forgive me for the times I’ve cultivated hate and judgment instead of love. Empower me by your Spirit to be passionate about you and merciful and loving to others. In Jesus name, Amen.

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