Revelation 2:4-5 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first,…”
Passion is that God-given desire that compels us to make a difference in a particular ministry or involvement. When you have a passion for a particular area of life, you are more enthusiastic and motivated.
What would you say is the greatest enemy of the Christian faith? Many of us would point to Satan, or to the moral decline of our nation, or to society’s influences that diminish the role of God. However, I believe that our most dangerous threat doesn’t come from outside the faith. Instead, our greatest enemy is complacency and apathy in the hearts of believers. Apathy is a destroyer.
Jesus stated it pointedly in Revelation 3:14-16 These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Jesus desires us to be hot or cold (opposite of the spiritual climate or a refreshing to the world as a hot drink on a cold day and a cold drink on a hot day). But half-hearted and apathetic is not something that pleases Him.
What is apathy? The dictionary defines apathy as a “lack of feeling or emotion; impassiveness; lack of interest or concern; indifference.”
Notice the zeal Jesus portrayed in John 4:34 (Psalm 69:9; Isaiah 59:17)
Notice how zeal affected the behavior and actions of the believers in Hebrews 11:30-40:
- They were not afraid to stand alone.
- They did not care if their motives were misinterpreted.
- They considered everything a loss for the sake of the truth.
- They were all passionate about the glory of God and to declare His truth in the world.
- They were all “on fire,” and so they ignited others. They were wide awake, and so awakened others. They were always working, and so motivated others to work as well.
- They carried a vision of purpose in their hearts and believed in the power of God to accomplish the impossible.
The following questions are designed to evaluate our hearts and prevent ourselves from becoming insensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice. This evaluation is NOT intended for condemnation and must be done in honest prayer.
- Is my delight in the Lord greater than my delight in someone or something else? (Mark 12:30; 1 John 2:15-16)
- Do I long for times of fellowship in God’s Word, the Bible, or in prayer? (Psalm 42:1-2)
- Do my thoughts often reflect upon the Lord and His goodness? (Mark 12:30; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:1-4)
- Do I reject those things which I know displease the Lord? (John 14:15, 15:10; Titus 2:11-14)
- Do I willingly and cheerfully give to God’s work and to the needs of others? (1 John 3:17; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
- Do I see the Commands of Christ as restrictions to happiness rather than expressions of His love? (John 14:21)
- Do I inwardly strive for people’s recognition and acclaim rather than the Lord’s approval? (1 John 2:15-17)
- Am I able to quickly forgive another person for offending me? (Matthew 18:1-35)
- Have I become apathetic to the sinful conditions around me or do those things draw me closer to God? (Matthew 24:12-13)
- Do I fear rejection when I share Christ and His love or am I excited about the things God has done and is doing in my life? (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:18-20)When we drift from our first love… (Revelations 2:1-7)
If any of the questions reflect a loss of passion, there IS a way back!
HOW DO WE LOSE OUR SPIRITUAL PASSION?
1. First, by saying ‘no” to the Holy Spirit.
- Do not quench or put out the fire of the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
- Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders (competing passions) and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
- Name the things that are a weight and diminish our passion for Christ.
APPLICATION FROM REVELATION 2:1-7
Here Jesus literally tells the readers how they can re-ignite their passion (first love) for God. First of all, He states that they did not lose their first love, like we would lose our keys, they forsook it or exchanged it for spiritual activity. Here are the three steps:
IN OUR THOUGHTS: Remember when Jesus was very real in every area of our life. In the original language, the word is to exercise our memory, recollect, and rehearse.
- Psalm 42:1-4 As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?” When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
IN OUR EMOTIONS: Repent and turn to God. The word repent is the Greek word “metanoeo” meaning to change our current thinking and attitude with corresponding behavior.
- 2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
- King Saul’s false or worldly repentance (1 Samuel 15:22-35) & King David’s Godly repentance (2 Samuel 12:1-15; Psalm 51)
IN OUR ACTIONS: Return to doing the things we used to do: Bible reading, intimate times of prayer and sharing the things God has done and is doing in our life. This may require us to reorganize our life by “redeeming the time.”
REDEEMING THE TIME
You may need to re-prioritize your life and schedule to be able to give the Lord quality time and to allow Him to re-ignite a zeal for the things of God again. The Bible calls that “redeeming the time.
- Ephesians 5:15-17 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
To once again ignite your passion for Christ, go to a private place and pour out your heart to God and pray this type of a prayer…