DO IT WITH PASSION OR NOT AT ALL

What does the word of God have to say about Passion? Let’s start with three examples Elijah, Barnabus, and Paul.  One from Old Testament and two in the New Testament.

Our Old Test Example comes from a passage in James 5.

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours,

Some versions say “like passions” which is equivalent to “the same human nature.”

and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. James 5:13-18

That is a passion! A passion lived out in a person with the same human nature who prayed and shut the heavens and prayed again and open the heavens.

Can we really qualify? With tryouts, timed trials, and a regular season you are familiar with how necessary it is to qualify, to be worthy to have your position on the team. And furthermore we aren’t totally pumped up by a comparison to Elijah.

What is said— “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours” passion issues like us.

You see, it is not that there are some special people with superior natures that are particularly effective at living with right passion. 

We all can live with determination and ability and understand the discipline process of winning.  Confession I am competitive.  Growing up with brothers, and all boy cousins I played hard to win.  Can you relate?  The drive is there.  However when you come to Christ you are no longer competitive with others but it is a similar passion to strive to give it your all. The history and linage of God’s people is a people despite the odds who win, overcome, and gain victory.  It’s incredible to understand the meaning of God with you.

Check out, “ALL I DO IS WIN” highlight real from Steph Curry’s last season. He embodies passion and faith. He is an example of the relationship between attitude and altitude.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d04WHE1Jq3I

The world tells us spotlight feels good.  Even Subaru’s advert uses the hashtag #dontletwinterwin  The win feels good.  When our passion is rewarded with victory, honor, and dollar bills we feel good.  This is human nature.  God’s nature is different. God’s glory and passion offer more.

Who are the Stephen Curry’s of the New Test?

The set up is exhilarating, a whole city from Lystra want to honor Barnabas and Paul as gods with bulls and wreaths and sacrifices to them.  Don’t just go judging this city consider our massive superbowl celebrations!  Also there was a dunamis power in Paul, read it for yourself in  (1 Cor 2:4) And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the (Holy) Spirit and power (“dunamis”) that is, a proof by the Spirit and power of God.

Consider the win! Acts 14:8 In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.

11When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 

How does Biblical passion respond?

Acts 14:14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul found out about this, they tore their clothes and rushed into the crowd, shouting, 15“Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 

Paul, Barnabus, and Stephan Curry are human like you and all of us can win the prize the ultimate prize which isn’t just money, or championships, or titles, but rather a life that matters when the crowd praises and when the crowd turns.  A life of participation in Christ’s passion for the glory of God in any and all circumstances is offered.  I just want to be on that team!  A team with that kind of synergy is powerful.

SO WE TRAIN 1 Cor 9:25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. Similar to the way an elite athlete for the olympics trains their body with over 1,000 hours the average athlete will have been training six hours a day, six days a week, 12 months a year for a very short race. 

The Winter Olympics are opening in a few days, Feb. 8th 2018 if you want to mark your calendar.  As those men and women stand on that podium don’t just see their highlight reel.  See the hours of dedication and discipline behind the spotlight.

Stay humble and stay hungry even in the pain.  The Latin word for passion means pain in the process of change or pain in our fight for change! Know that a certain degree of pain is involved.   Train with prayer and fasting which prepares us for the pain involved with passion.  When you abstain from something, fast, or train you develop your will to resist your natural impulses and the strength to push beyond your barriers.  Learn from Christ.  Humble after Christ.  Hungry after Christ.

You and I face critical TIMES IN OUR LIFE WHEN WE NEED GOOD DECISION MAKING ABILITY.   This strength of will is forged from a pattern of habits, passion and yes even pain, so choose wisely. Chose Christ. Or we can choose the pain that comes from regret not putting in hard work. We can choose a DUI and unplanned pregnancy and other results of lack of discipline. Choose wisely.

Paul participates in Christ’s passion after he preached to the crowd in Lystra he was stoned and left for dead outside the city.   Love suffers long.  (1 Cor. 13)  Passion will outlast suffering everytime.

Passion like this comes with power.  You have instant access to God’s dunamis power through Jesus.  What do you need to say no too? Jesus said no to it, with you in mind.  He suffers with you.  God’s Holy Spirit serves as a vehicle enabling you to participate in the nature of Jesus, the victory over that struggle by increasing the passion of Jesus in you.

2 Peter 1:3His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 

REMEMBER in the victory, It is HIS GLORY, belongs to HIM goes back to HIM.  This is praise.

Praise HIS NATURE. 

Acts 1:3 His Passion is HIS suffering for us.  And it is the victory.

Hevrews 10:35 So do not throw away your confidence; it holds a great reward. 36 You need to persevere, so that after you have done God’s will, you will receive what He has promised. 

We are going to finish with three spiritual drills. 

PRAISE

Reflect on the past year: For what can you specifically thank God? What has given you joy (cheer as James says)? Has He met your needs? Has He transformed your heart? How have you seen Him at work in your life? Offer up these reflections as prayers of praise. Give Him glory.  Consider telling someone else about it.

CONFESS

Though, in Christ, we already have positional righteousness before God, these verses in James and others suggest that unconfessed sin can still be a hindrance to our prayer life (1 Peter 3:7). The answer is simple: confess your sins and be forgiven (1 John 1:9). Indeed, repeatedly in Scripture we see confession woven into the life of prayer (think of the Lord’s prayer). So take a little time to make sure that your conscience is clear, and that you have responded to any corrections from the Holy Spirit.

PRAYER

We need His help if we are to embody what we proclaim.  Remember we are invited in God’s Word to bring the big things, such as major illnesses (as referenced in the James passage) but also even the smallest anxieties to our Father in prayer (Phil. 4:6).

Pray that we would not be ashamed of the gospel and would not be cowed into watering down our presentation of it through the pressures of culture, whether corporately or in our own individual encounters. (Rom. 1:16, Mark 8:38)

This sermon sprang from All Hollows Church prayer guide the last three drills and more can be found so yeah clickto connect to that prayer guide. It’s rad. 

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