What is lacking when Christians casually drift through life, dabbling in the things of God and diligently pursuing “their own things” (Phil. 2:21), when their spiritual growth creeps forward at a snail’s pace and their fruit-bearing appears to be stagnant?
The answer is simple—passion. Passion is the fuel for human achievement. It is behind all scientific advancement, all entrepreneurial accomplishment, and all successful careers. It is the fundamental principle behind the world’s success and motivation teaching. Passion carries men through the arduous learning curve, through opposition, and through a host of trials, setbacks, disappointments, failures, and mistakes. Passion gets them out of bed day after day, raring to go. And when they don’t feel motivated, something deep inside compels them to get out of bed and press the fight anyway. The simple fact is, the world is such a difficult playing field that apart from passion, no great goals are ever attained. Casual men survive. Passionate men achieve.
Things work the same way in the spiritual realm, though vastly greater rewards and consequences are at stake. There is one important difference, however. When men have a passion in the world, that passion originated from the world. When men have a passion for the things of Christ, that passion originated with God. This passion is known in the Bible by such terms as vision. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). Such visions are based on the commissions, prophecies, and promises of God which are recorded in the Bible. These entrustments of God inspire hope—hope to work and fight, knowing that one’s efforts will not be in vain.
When men have such a vision—whether for evangelism, or church planting, or discipling, or preaching, or teaching, or helping, or giving, or whatever—that vision inspires and sustains them. It gives them gusto and gumption. When they run out of gusto, they run on gumption that won’t quit even when emotions and circumstances all cry “quit!”
So how do you get a vision if you don’t have one? First of all, you can’t have a particular vision for a particular aspect of the work of Christ if you don’t have a general vision for the whole work of Christ. Do you have that? Do you wake up in the morning and go to bed at night captivated by the fact that you are part of God’s amazing plan for the ages that has been manifested in Christ? Think about it. We have been given an opportunity to co-labor with him in the here-and-now and co-reign with him in the life to come.
Christianity is not merely believing on Christ. The Scriptures are very clear that we have not only been given the opportunity of believing on Christ, but we been given the privilege of toiling and suffering for his sake” (Phil. 1:29, 2 Tim. 2:12, Rom. 8:17). And this path of toiling and suffering with him leads to an infinite, eternal co-inheritance with him as heirs of God (Rom. 8:17, 2 Cor. 4:17, Rev. 21:7). What a day that shall be when we are seated with Christ at the Father’s right hand—when our job description is ruling with Christ and enjoying pleasures forevermore (2 Tim. 2:12, Rev. 20:4-6, Ps. 16:11).
This future destiny is something we ought to be excited about. And if we get excited about it, then we will be passionate about the path that leads to it. If you lack this excitement about our present work and future reward, then get it! Seek Christ in prayer and in his word until the fire is glowing warmly in your heart.
Once you have the “joy of salvation” burning in your heart, then seek God for your particular place and part in the great work he is doing down here. This is not a spectator sport. This is an all-out war for salvation, discipleship, truth, and the encouragement of believers. Every Christian should be an active participant on the battlefield. Get a battlefield vision. Be a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 2:3-4).
So, how will you take your Christianity? Casual or passionate?
Eyes wide open, brain engaged, heart on fire.
Lee W. Brainard