The Editor’s Desk by Shawn McMullen
“Nothing is so aggravating than calmness,” observed poet and playwright Oscar Wilde. Although I’m not sure what Mr. Wilde intended by the statement, I agree that calmness can be aggravating when circumstances call for a passionate response.
The apostle Paul understood that well-placed passion has a place in kingdom work. He wrote to the church in Rome, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). In The Message Eugene H. Peterson translates this thought, “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.”
In a world familiar with apathy and passivity, Christians have many reasons to live passionate lives. Here are a few.
The glory of God. God referred to his people Israel as those who have been “called by my name, whom I created for my glory” (Isaiah 43:7). The apostle Peter reminded believers of the purpose of their salvation: “that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). The apostle Paul explained that we have been adopted by the Father, have placed our hope in Christ, and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption—all “to the praise of his glory” (see Ephesians 1:1-14). Knowing we have been created for this purpose motivates us to live every moment to the praise of God’s glory with passion, gratitude, and joy.
The Word of God. King David declared, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97). The prophet Jeremiah recalled, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16). Nineteenth-century prayer warrior George Muller loved God’s Word. Near the end of his life he wrote, “I have been for 68 years and three months . . . a lover of the Word of God, and that uninterruptedly.” When we view the Bible as the God-given, Spirit-enlivened, life-changing work it is, our passion for reading, studying, and obeying it will be evident.
The holiness of God. God expects his children to be passionate about holiness. He inspired a New Testament writer to command, “Make every effort . . . to be holy” (Hebrews 12:14). The apostle Paul called all believers to a passionate pursuit of holiness based on their devotion to the Lord by urging us to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). When we see God as a perfectly holy God who calls us to be holy as well (1 Peter 1:15, 16), we cannot help but grow passionate about our personal pursuit of holiness.
The salvation of God. After converting to Christianity, the apostle Paul was consumed with a passion for the lost—particularly for the lost among his own people. He wrote, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). We who are saved by God’s grace today should feel a similar passion for the unsaved. Eternal souls hang in the balance. Let’s pray for, seek out, and engage the unsaved with a passion that brings honor to God.