Posts Tagged ‘ admonition ’

Faithfulness > Passion

It’s hard to believe that I originally created this note in Evernote almost a year ago. I never wrote in it for different reasons that were probably excuses, so I figure it’s about time to finish what I started all those months ago.

And yes, I totally get the irony of the title of my blog post vis-a-vis the fact that I started this long ago and “didn’t get around to it” till now.

Something that I’m learning over the last few years of life is that while passion is a great thing to have and a great thing to see in others, I’ll take faithfulness over passion any day when choosing someone to work with. I think that many folks in this millennial generation have plenty of passion, but they certainly struggle in the area of faithfulness/commitment. I don’t mean it as a death sentence – I’m still part of this generation – but it is something that we need to recognize and work on.
Passion is great. It’s often needed. Without passion, there’s no push to get anything big started. We wouldn’t have much of what we now take for granted without someone having passion to get it started, particularly not the social enterprise products we love so much these days (e.g., TOMS, free trade coffee, etc.). We need passion to get started on something important.
The problem with passion is that it’s often associated with emotion, and it doesn’t stick as a result. It can easily fade, and it can easily get redirected to other things. Without your passion being funneled into one direction, you end up with nothing to show for it. You can end up devoting effort into different areas, and at the end of it all, you’ve accomplished nothing but pushed some stuff around.
It’s like digging for treasure. You need to have a direction you’re digging in; otherwise, you’re just pushing dirt around. It’s possible that you get to where you think you ought to go and find nothing, but the only way for you to get there is to push through the resistance and be consistent in a directed, concerted effort.
This is why I believe faithfulness/commitment is more important than passion. Passion can come and go. Hopefully it comes and stays, but without commitment and faithfulness, it will go where it wants. The Bible has all sorts of warnings about our plight when we decide to follow our passions instead of what we know to be true.
More than someone who preaches with fire, I’m impressed by the pastor who sticks it out through challenges galore at the small church without any recognition, any big favors, any fame, and stands fast for years and years.
More than someone who draws a bunch of attention by being super effusive and outpouring with eloquence, I’m impressed by those who are there in those critical moments where a friend needs them.
More than those who shut it down during worship service at church, I’m impressed by those who have served faithfully behind the scenes for years and years without much recognition, status, or benefit.
These are the people I’m impressed by – the people who stand by their freaking word. People who don’t over-promise and under-deliver. People who count the cost with wisdom before making a commitment, rather than making them on a whim and breaking them. People who I can believe when they look me in the eye and say, “I’ve got this.”
This is what I aspire to become. A man who, by the grace of God, follows through on his commitments and does what he says he will.
I would encourage other men (and women) to take up this challenge as well!

Forgetting the truth.

Do you think perhaps sometimes we choose to be lost? That we choose darkness over the light we’ve experienced and tasted for ourselves? I do. I think it happens all too often, and unfortunately, I don’t know that anyone is safe from this tendency. It’s this tendency that has plagued us from the very beginning, the tendency that introduced sin into the world when there was only one law.

Think about it – only one thing that God said to follow. Don’t eat from that tree. Eat from all the other trees, as much as you want. There is plenty to eat, and you’ll never run out if you just trust that God has your best interests at heart. Just don’t eat from that one in the center.

But we fell then, and we fall now for that same lie. Or set of lies. First the temptation…
“It’s not that big a deal.”
“Everyone is doing it, so it can’t be that bad.”
“God is trying to keep something good from you.”
“God will forgive you; go on ahead!” (the most sinister lies are mixed with truth)

Then, after the deed is done…
“That…was a big deal.”
“You’re the only one who struggles with this. Shame on you. How can you even call yourself a Christian?”
“Now that you’ve screwed things up royally, God is going to withhold blessings from you.”
“Do you really think God is going to forgive you…again?”

Today’s reading in Every Word with PAC was Ezekiel 16-17, where God speaks to Israel about their waywardness and straying from Him. In Ezekiel 16, particularly, God compares Israel to a whore, except that rather than accepting payment for her lewdness, she actually gives gifts to her adulterers and puts herself out there more than even a prostitute would. At the end of the chapter, though, God renews His covenant with her.

This Scripture today spoke to me in a way I’d been craving for a while. I’ve noticed that even though I’ve been pretty good with getting my reading in each day, many times it can be just in and out without really taking much effect. Also, as I mentioned the last time I was at Immerse (young adult group at PAC, meets on Wednesday nights at 7 in the Chapel), when I begin to drift in my attention to, love for and application of the Word of God, I get more lenient towards myself when it comes to sin. I can find myself becoming like Israel as described in Ezekiel 16 – moving in a direction I ought to stay away from and rationalizing it under common grace.

What really gets me, though, is that despite all the reasons God had to just throw His hands up and give up on Israel, He didn’t. And despite all my mess and your mess, He didn’t give up on us either. He went really far the other way, in fact. God be praised.

You’re never too far from the grace of God through Jesus. He’s never given up on you, and He never will.

Sacrificing some comfort

Heard a sermon today about sacrifice, specifically giving and fasting. What hit me close to home was the pastor’s question to us – what would God challenge you to sacrifice for His kingdom?

That got me thinking on the way home. I’m going on a missions trip to Thailand next week, and I’m pretty psyched about it. I think the rest of the team is too, but not quite in the same way as I am.

I want the boldness to go after opportunities to minister grace. I believe we will see opportunities come up, but I want God to give me tho boldness to not back down from them. Andy Stanley said that boldness is saying something when it’s easier to say nothing. That’s the kind of boldness I desire.

I have to admit that I don’t exhibit that boldness in my everyday life. I should, but I often don’t. But in Andy’s sermon, he mentioned two of the apostles who had been brought before the Sanhedrin for preaching the gospel. They were thrown into jail for a night, and when they returned to the group, they prayed together.

You’d think they would pray for protection. For safety. Maybe “wisdom” in sharing the truth. But no, they prayed for boldness. They prayed to be even more bold with the gospel.

They recognized that the enemy had put roadblocks in their path that would deter them from their  God-given mission, and they refused to let fear hold them back. They asked God to make them bolder, make them more courageous, so that they would be even more resilient to the challenges they were bound to face.

But we often don’t pray for that, do we? So often, we pray for safety and protection. Do we need it? Paul famously said that “for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Do we believe that in such a way that it affects the way we live?

I’m quickly getting to a place in my life that I believe that God hasn’t called me to live comfortably. Don’t get me wrong, I like living comfortably – who doesn’t? But I don’t believe God wants to keep me there. I think that’s why I’ve been so restless and dissatisfied with my current lot in life. It’s plenty comfortable, but it’s way lacking in meaning as a result.

God promised us eternal life through Christ. Is that enough? If it is, then why do we hold on so tightly to everything else and try to get more of it?