Last night it was my pleasure to be with my friends Mark and Judy Broyles and the brethren in Bulverde, Texas, to speak at their summer lecture series. Their theme has been “Our Passion for Spiritual Growth.” And my topic was “Passionate about God.”
“It certainly is mysterious, this word passion,” writes Gordon MacDonald in his excellent book Renewing Your Spiritual Passion. “It is hard to measure and difficult to pin down. But you know when you have it, and you are quite aware when you don’t.
MacDonald continues, “One feels passion; it seizes you! Passion stimulates human performance: superior or excellent performance, strange or bizarre performance, compassionate or sacrificial performance.”
Sadly, however, there are too many Christians who’ve lost their spiritual passion. Or, at least their passion has greatly diminished from their early days of conversion. Why? What causes a loss of passion for God? And what can we do about it?
If you’re not feeling your former zeal for spiritual matters and a passion for God, here are 5 possible reasons that I shared with the Bulverde brethren.
(1) An Unscriptural Attitude
Do you just view God as a Deity to be discussed? An impersonal force? Or like some mythological super hero only to be admired at a distant?
God desires a relationship with you. He wants to be your Father. And for you and I to be His sons and daughters (2Cor 6:18).
Like sons of Eli, we may have knowledge about God, but “not know the Lord.” Knowing God is so much more than being able to recite some facts about Him.
(2) Unconfessed Sin.
Nothing will sap your energy, undermine your confidence, or rob your passion more quickly than guilt. David, the man after God’s own heart, who enjoyed a rich relationship with Jehovah learned how sin sapped his spiritual passion.
In Psalm 34 he described his emotional state as “being pressed down” by the hand of God. He writes, “ For my iniquities have gone over my head; Like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds are foul and festering Because of my foolishness.
Sin has separated him from God and left him mentally, emotionally and spiritually drained. He says, “I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my To feel spiritually passionate about God, we must daily confess our sins and maintain a pure relationship with the Lord.
(3) Undisciplined Lifestyle.
When we waste our time on frivolous activities, hide our talents or horde our treasure, we will not feel close to God. We must invest our time wisely (Eph 5:17), use our individual giftedness for the glory of God (1 Pet 4:11), and generously share our resources with others (1 Tim. 6:17-19).
The lifestyle of the Christian to be different from the world. Set apart. Sanctified. Spiritually focused. When we allow ourselves to become conformed to culture instead of being transformed, we will lose our spiritual passion.
(4) An Undernourish Spirit
Just like the body needs physical exercise and a proper diet to be healthy, so does the spirit. The age old disciplines of daily prayer, regular Bible study, weekly worship, and family fellowship are needful to nourish the soul.
Almost everyone who’s come to me for counsel when they’re feeling spiritually apathetic has neglected two, if not all four, of those important components for spiritual sustenance.
(5) Unresolved Conflict
You can’t be right with God when you’re wrong with your fellow man. Anger, resentment, and strife will stifle your affection for God.
“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger,” (Eph 4:25), is not only good relational adv e, but a habit that will help you maintain your spiritual passion.
The second great commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Fulfilling this command will also aid in “Loving th Lord with all your passion.” (Matt 22:37-40).
C. S. Lewis was right when he wrote, “The only thing Christianity cannot be is moderately important.” God wants your total commitment. Your absolute dedication. Your intense passion.
What’s draining YOU of your spiritual passion for God?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman