Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gloom, Despair, And Agony On Me

You have no doubt seen the Successories brand of merchandise that offers a beautiful picture and motivational saying with it. But, have you seen the products offered at ?

(My favorite)

(We've all been there)

What's up with the lack of commitment these days? Is it just me, or does apathy seem to be running rampant in the church? Where has all the passion gone? You've probably all heard the story about the man who fell asleep in Civics Class. His professor woke him and asked “Is the greatest problem America today ignorance or apathy?” The man said "I don’t know and I don’t care.”

We have become an I don’t know and I don’t care generation, and it is seeping into the church. Why are we not passionate anymore? Why are we not like Paul who said,
Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord—you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 (HCSB)

When did we become like the Laodicean Church? Jesus told them,
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. Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV)

Passion is all about heart. The Laodicean church had a Lukewarm heart. "Jesus? Eh, take Him or leave Him." Jesus said that kind of an attitude makes God sick! Others in the New Testament had a cold heart.
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. Matthew 24:11-12 (NKJV)
That's not good either, but at least it's better than apathy. Apathy says, it really doesn't matter. You can be half-hearted toward God and that's OK. Which means to irreligious people, that religion is nothing special.  Jesus wants us to have hot hearts. To be passionate about Him and His work, His ministry, His church, and His Word.
And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32 (NKJV)

So whatever you do, do it in all passion and with no apathy. God expects us to love passionately, not passively. He expects us to work with commitment, not with compromise. He calls us to action, not apathy. It reminds me of the story of the guy who came to First Baptist Church and sat up front and yelled all through the sermon, "Preach, Preacher, preach!" Finally, after many annoyed looks from the choir and pastor, the head usher approached the man and said, "Sir. Shhhh." The man said, "Oh, sorry. I just got religion." The usher said, "Well, sir. You didn't get it here."

Listen, we don't need to be disruptive in our services. (Although, I preach shorter the more Amens I get!) We just need to be more passionate, less apathetic. Larry Crabb said that "The problem in today’s church is not that we are too passionate about bad things, just not passionate enough about good things." Now, passion is not something we develop, it is something we discover. See, if God gives you a gift, you become passionate about that gift. You either accept that gift and give it back to God by exercising it, or you live with joyless apathy. I don't know about you, but I want to give my passion back to God, and live in the joy of His blessings.


Dan said...

Steve, I just got to read this today, and what a great Father's Day message! I do want to live with passion, to make my "secular" passions spiritual passions, to include Christ in all of my passions. Thanks for the reminder!

Steve said...

As always Dan, thanks for the encouragment. God bless.