Keeping the Passion – Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength

The Pursuit of Passion

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Mark 12:30 (NLT)
The Greatest Commandment

Where does your passion lie? Do you wake up in the morning and can’t wait to bound out of the bed because you will be doing the things you love to do and believe in? Sometimes I have days just like that, perhaps it is a trip, event, or something in the studio that I have been just beyond anxious to do and can hardly contain myself to get started however most of the time I must admit that I am slow to rise. I often wake early and then contemplate my events for the day some things excite me and others I dread. My passion for the day-to-day things in life and how I am to pursue them is not always at the level they need to be.

What about  passion for the Ten Commandments? I read a funny little story about Brad and Louise and how they managed the Ten Commandments. Brad and Louise tried their best to be good Christians, but they only made it to church once or twice a year. As they were leaving the church after one of those occasions, the minister stopped them and said, “It sure would be nice to see you more than once or twice a year.” Louise said, “Yes, we know. We’d love to come more often, but we’re very busy people with full and active lives. But at least we keep the Ten Commandments!” The minister said, “That’s great!” Brad said proudly, ”I keep six and Louise keeps the other four!”

Brad and Louise have lost their passion to uphold the spirit of the laws that God has given. We all tend to get caught up in our busy lives and perhaps ten seems like a lot to keep up with. Over a thousand years after God gave the original ten the people of the New Testament found themselves with the original ten laws and multiple extra ones, 613 according to historians. They were struggling with their busy lives too, finding it difficult to remember and keep all the laws.

Jesus however summarized all the laws making it very simple and he took what seemed like a burdensome number and reduced it to just two. This is where we find our focus verse this week and the next as we look closer into keeping the passion strong for the two greatest commandments given to us. We will be looking in particular at the book of Mark but this is also found in Luke 10:27. In the words of Christ;

-“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.  Mark 12:30 (NLT)

Everyday Things that Kill Passion

Loving God is not a new concept for the people of the New Testament as God’s people were told countless times how important this commandment is and how important it is to maintain the passion for that commandment. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9; Joshua 22:5) Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength are the words of total devotion and passion beyond belief.

If you look at the Greek translations of these words you really get a better foundation of how passionate the words are. Heart is the deepest desire and preferences; an inner life of intention, soul being the vital breath and individual personality of the gift of life given by God. These two translations show the strong requirements of passion. The mind is full insight and meaningful conclusion, while strength is the power and ability to carry it all out. Passion is given when our enthusiasm and excitement is full of heart, soul, mind and strength.

So what happens to our passion for God? We all seem to have it when we first come into the tremendous realization of the full commitment and belief but sometimes that passion wanes and fades over the years or time. What becomes the passion killers or at least makes sick and weak the passion we once had? Pastor, Rick Warren, of Saddleback Church in CA, has cited 7 things that kill our passion for God that are well worth exploring.

  1. Unbalanced Schedules

We have all experienced a dulling of passion when our lives become unbalanced. We seem to be groups of people who either overwork or underwork. We can overwork at our jobs or careers leaving too little time for anything else. We can even overwork at giving out service to others which sounds like a good thing but can quickly exhaust our passion for the very thing we sought to do with enthusiasm as it drains our energy leaving little time for other pursuits. It is so important that we balance our schedules or lives with our purposes. Likewise if we underwork putting forth just minimal effort to get by in life we will also be unbalanced and will see little need or want for passion. (For further thoughts on the balances in life see – The Careful Balance of Life – Disallowing the World to Tip the Scales)

2. Unused Talent

If we are not using our talents that God has given us it will cause us to not only lose the talents but the zest that accompanies those talents, the passion to pursue them. It took me many years and lots of education to nail down my talents and sometimes I still question my direction but I know what speaks to my passion. I know what excites me. I have listened to countless high school students over the years who were making plans for the university level to seek pathways or careers not in what they desired but ones that were sure to bring them money, power, prestige, or ones that simply pleased their parents or grandparents. It makes my heart ache to hear these kids so misguided in the direction they are going to pursue life; not in a direction because of their gifts, talents, and passions but for the idols of the world. Too often in our pursuit of security we lose our trust in God to provide our means and we hyper focus on the future and misguided comforts we desire. If we use our talents as given we will have the direct passion we need to pursue and to keep pursuing our purpose.

3. Unconfessed Sin

It is important that to maintain our passion that we are honest with ourselves and God. 1 John 1:9 tells us to confess our sins and trust God who will forgive us. Our burden of sin relieves itself when we do this and it allows us to move freely once again in the passion.

4. Unresolved Conflict

Passion can be zapped right out of us if our attitude is not in the right frame. We cannot be passionate and conflicted at the same time. Resentment, jealousy, or prolonged anger will become the controlling factors of life if they remain unresolved. This does not mean we can control others but that we must forgive and let go putting it in God’s hand. Job 18:4 reminds us that we are only hurting ourselves if we remain angry as often the other person may not even know how we feel or worse care.  Unresolved conflict can have a tremendous effect on not only our own lives but others that get dragged into the issue.

I remember so vividly many years ago arriving to school to find my assistant principal exhausted at seven in the morning. I couldn’t imagine what created such an issue that he was ready to go home for the day before students had even arrived. He told the following story; apparently a bus student’s parent had become so upset at the bus driver over something no one was still sure of, that they had harbored those feelings all night long. When the bus arrived that early morning somewhere in the dark before 6 A.M. to pick up the students at that stop the angry parent was waiting and fuming. She unleashed a string of words in anger not fit for anyone to hear especially a bus of children.  Things quickly spun out of control and called in were officials along with the school administration. The children had to be rerouted on a different bus and my assistant principal called to duty since the bus route involved students from our school. I remember thinking that you have to get up pretty early to get yourself that worked up before six in the morning but the truth probably is that the parent was up most of the night with anger brewing and stewing to the point that by six am things spiraled out of control. The results showed that not only was it not good health wise for the angry person it had devastating effects on anyone whose life saw the display. The repercussions of unresolved conflict will quickly end any passion we may have. I used to have a little cross stitch of a sail ship that I stitched many years ago that had a proverb below that read, “You cannot control the wind but you can adjust your sails.”  We do not have control over others and what they do and say but we do have control over how we act and react so we must let go and let God.

5. Unsupported Lifestyle

To help maintain our passion for God we must spend time with others who are also passionate about God. If we try to live our lives alone here on earth without the fellowship of others who are like-minded our hearts will slowly grow cold. I love to have a fire going in the fireplace in the winter for many reasons. Not only do I enjoy watching the flames flicker and dance across the logs I love to settle myself snuggly beside it and feel the warmth of the heat that it throws off. Sometimes however that warmth gets a little too warm and I must back away from it or risk burning my skin but as soon as I back away from the fire whether it is just a few feet or a few yards I suddenly cool down. We, as Christians, have to stay connected to other Christians to keep the effect of our fire still warm in our heart. If we back away from others we will soon find ourselves getting cold much like in the winter when we move back from the fire. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us that we must encourage one another. We can help motivate each other keeping our passion warm for God, alive, and full of fire.

6. An Unclear Purpose

If we are keeping our passion alive we must remember our main purpose is to worship God. Warren has touted that there are five purposes for our lives in his book the Purpose Driven Life. It is through worshiping God that we give God pleasure. We are to enjoy fellowship with others in God’s family. It is our purpose to become more Christ like through the study of God’s word learning discipleship. We are to serve God by practicing real ministry to others. Our final purpose is to pursue missions by living out a life of evangelism by teaching others about Christ through our own lives and experiences. Maintaining passion in life is possible when we are living our life with a clear purpose.

7. Undernourished Spirit

An undernourished spirit will kill passion. An undernourished spirit can be avoided. If we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed with the distractions or disappointments of life we can bet that our passion will slowly ebb away. We must consistently and intently nourish our spirit. It is so important that we make time for private worship and fellowship with other believers. We must keep reading God’s word to become more like Christ. We are to use our talents to help other people and while doing so share our faith with others. We must pursue our purposes or we will become unbalanced. When we keep our spirit full of the nourishment God has provided our passion is fully maintained.

Heart, soul, mind, and strength all are the pursuits of a passion driven life. If we don’t feel passionate about God perhaps we have forgotten that He is passionate about us. Exodus 34:14 The proof of that is in the cross. When we take communion it is a symbol to remember how Christ wants us to remember how passionate He is about us. We are to keep our passion for God strong. We must wake up any of our passions that are sleeping and go after them fully as we do not want to be found with dead passion when the one we pursue returns. Revelation 3:1-3. We need to strive to find the passion we had in the beginning of our relationship with a red-hot passion for God; in heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Tim Whyatt Cartoonist
Do More Than Wear the T-Shirt!

Do more than wear the t-shirt show your passion for God!

Have a passion filled week pursing God fully.

Love in Christ,

E.J.

What are Your Thoughts? Join Us in Discussion.

Is your life full of passion for God or is your passion missing a spark? Have you found a way to keep your passion strong through heart, soul, mind, and strength? Do you have to rekindle your passion for God often? What are your thoughts on passion for God or other related topics?

How God is working through your life?