Leave Boldly // Day 30

Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start now and make a brand-new ending.  — Carl Bard

God intends for us to live passionately. “So love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.” (Mark 12:30 MSG). We were made with the capacity for passion because God is a passionate God, and we’re made in His image. We’re told, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11). Notice the word “keep”; it tells us that passion is something we can lose. If we don’t work at it, the stresses and pressures of life can steal our passion for our families, friends and careers.

In order to keep passion alive and thriving, we must be sure to include its four key ingredients. The first ingredient to sustain our passion is the most important – love. Love is the foundation of a passionate, purposeful life. The fuel that fires the passion in a marriage relationship is love. The fuel that fires productivity at the workplace is love. The fuel that keeps us growing in our relationship with God is love. Not obligation or legalistic obedience. Love.

What if you don’t feel as passionate about God as you once did, you don’t have the spiritual fervor you once had? Then you have to start doing the things you did when you first fell in love with God. What did you do? You spent time with Him. You were so excited about the Bible and about learning what it means to love God. You told everybody what was going on in your life. You told your friends what God was doing in your life. You have to get back to doing those things if you want to fall in love with God all over again. If you want to rekindle your passion for life, then focus on God’s love for you.

The next essential in a passionate life is integrity. While people may define this term in a variety of ways, integrity is simply uniting what we say we believe with the way we live. Just as lust destroys the passion in our lives, so does a lack of integrity. Nothing dilutes our passion more than when we say we believe something but don’t live it out. When we say our health is important but we consistently overeat unhealthy foods, we lose integrity. When we say our families are important but we’re always working and are never present, we lose heart. When we say we love God as the foundation for our lives but we don’t relate to Him on a daily basis, we suffer. Our hearts become divided, and we lose the primary focus of our lives. If you want to live passionately, then you must live a congruent life, acting according to what you believe is true.

The next element essential to sustaining passion is forgiveness. Nothing drains passion quicker than unresolved conflict. Job 5:2 tells us, “Surely resentment destroys the fool, and jealousy kills the simple.” (NLT). These two – resentment and jealousy – will steal passion quicker than anything else.

Resentment is the great passion killer. This is why God says we must learn to forgive others. If you want to restore your passion for life, you have to learn to forgive people. When we carry around resentment, bitterness, and hurt, they corrode our lives. The people who hurt us don’t suffer any consequences. We’re not getting back at them as all. Those negative emotions just hurt us and drain us of our passion for life. Jesus is the great example for us here, as He always is. On the cross what did He say? “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). He forgave those who were crucifying Him. No one forgave more than Jesus Christ. He was the most passionate person who ever lived, because He was the most forgiving person who ever lived.

Finally, we need enthusiasm to maintain our passion in life. The word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words: en and theos. Theos is the Greek word for “God,” and en simply means “in,” so literally it means “God within.” If you want to live each and every day as if it were your last, then you must focus on your relationship with God. If you struggle with passion in your life, perhaps you aren’t cultivating your relationship with Him at the level for which you were designed. We have a spiritual hunger within us, one that is never satisfied until we rest in God. We can chase all kinds of things to fulfill us and make us happy, but only One satisfies us. If we want to live the rest of our lives as if we only had one month left, then we would want to know that God is in us, in the details of every day. We would want to experience the intimacy of His love for us and to share it with those around us.

Love. Integrity. Forgiveness. Enthusiasm. L.I.F.E. The passionate life, the one life we’ve been given to live. It’s about living with this passion, living life to the fullest and not settling. It’s about living passionately, loving completely, learning humbly and leaving boldly, leaving a legacy that will have eternal impact. If you only had one month to live, isn’t this how you’d want to live — knowing you squeezed every second of life for all it was worth, enjoying the abundant (not safe, easy, or comfortable) life that God promised us?

Personal Challenge

1. How full is your passion tank? Where do you feel the most drained? At work? At home? In your marriage? In your relationship with God?

2. Review the four essential ingredients that sustain passion in our lives; love, integrity, forgiveness, enthusiasm. Which of these do you need to focus on to revive the passion in your life? Remember, loving actions produce loving feelings. Don’t wait until you feel the passion to act. Act and the passion will return. What loving actions do you need to do today?