These modern playthings, like pet tiger cubs, have grown so large and dangerous that they threaten to devour us all
The word passion means "to be affected by" [Tweet That] Think of the things you are passionate about.
You are passionate about those things you are most affected by, and that may be just about anything. When I think of the picture of my life and its passions, I want to create a picture of how ridiculous it is to be more passionate about anything other than Jesus Christ and his presence, his love, his grace, and his Spirit.
Does prayer affect me? When I pray, do I come from a place where my heart is affected and affectionate, or are they words without thoughts?
Does my time in God's word affect me? Do I read the things I read wanting to allow myself to actually be affected by what I read, or am I just reading words without thoughts?
Is my life affected by the love of God today? Not effected, but affected. The former I do not control, the latter I do. Do I allow my heart and life to be affected by the gospel? Am I truly passionate about my life with Christ? Does it affect me today? Do I allow his grace to affect my emotion, my choices, and my thirst for MORE?
These are the true questions of passion.
Psalm 55:2 says "I am restless in my complaint and I must moan." Sometimes our heart needs the release of complaint and moaning before God. Verse 6 says "oh that I had wings like a dove I would fly away and be at rest" (think Forrest Gump's Jenny). There are moments in life we wish we could just fly away from, but those are moments we need honest prayer that gets us to verse 16; something lets call an "as for me" moment.
It is good for us to moan complain and sigh in these times, but we must come around to an as for me moment where we call on God knowing he will hear when we cast our burden upon The Lord He will sustain us.
There is a social psychological concept called the looking-glass self that essentially breaks down to theorizing we become more and more what the most important person in our life thinks we are. You have seen the popular memes online reflecting what different people think we actually do for a living!
In life, there are many people who have different perceptions of who we really are. Exes are going to have a different perception of you than your momma. Co-workers are going to have different perceptions of you than your spouse.
The looking-glass self theorizes that we will often so strongly believe that we actually become the person the most important person in our life perceives us to be.
This brings up a couple vital questions:
1. Who IS the most important person my life? (and why is it not God?) Before you answer, realize we give certain people importance in our lives. Moreover, the most important person in our lives is not always the most 'positive-impact' person in our life. For many people the most important person in their life might be the abusive parent, and that impacts how that person really perceives himself. We may give too much importance to the person we are dating who perceives you as the one make him feel better, and she begins to believe she is only exactly that.
If you are a believer, this first question necessarily proposes a second question. Why is God not the most important person in your life?
Of course we say He is, but theory is different than practice. Can you honestly say (not on this page, but in your heart of hearts) that your relationship with Jesus is THE most important relationship you have and maintain? Can you say that God's perception of you is who you really are, or are you really becoming who some other person perceives you to be; someone to whom you have GIVEN more importance than God?
2. Who does God perceive me to be? If God is the most important person in our life and our relationship with Jesus IS the most important relationship we have, then the second question to answer is "WHO does God perceive me to be?"
Let me give you a couple verses to think of this.
1 John 3:1 is my favorite verse in all of scripture. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are." Do you believe and KNOW YOURSELF as a child of the perfect Father who loves perfectly?
In John 13:23, the disciple calles himself "the one Jesus loves." What would change in your life if you actually believed enough to BECOME 'the one Jesus loves'? What needs to change for you to peer through the looking-glass and see what God sees?
Tomorrow begins Lent. It is the forty-day period before Easter. This year it begins February 17. Lent is a chance and challenge to refocus your life, withdraw from usual practices, and draw closer to the heart of God.
I'd like to invite you to joining me in a prayerful and reflective Lent. Click this link to receive daily emails during Lent containing passages from Dr. Crabb's new book to help you focus your thoughts and begin your own conversations with God. Emails will begin on February 17.
In hopes of true sacrifice and empathizing with my pregnant wife, I intend to give up coffee and caffeine for Lent. I don't tell you that here as a cry for attention, but for a request of accountability.
Help challenge me through the lethargy and headaches that are soon to ensue.
Will you join me? What do you choose to give up?
Reading through the Gospels in 30 days. If you still want in on it, we are only 2 days in. Thats only 6 chapters to read today to catch up. 3 chapters a day, 4 Gospels, 30 days
* I got this idea from a friend of mine, Justin Wallace, who has done this challenge before and is currently doing it again with us.
I am including my quick reflections here on my blog. Please feel free to include your reflections here as comments for others to read.
CHAPTER 1 1:1-17 - It is always striking how many women are included in Jesus' lineage, but whats more, it is interesting to note that there are whores and other "questionable" characters in that line
1:23 - This is why the Christmas story is so vital and crazy and wonderful. "...and they shall call him Emmanuel, which means God with us." Just take a second and reflect on how HUGE that is! GOD....WITH US!! Here...in flesh...WITH US.
2:3 - The NRSV says that "Herod was frightened and all Jerusalem with him". I knew that Herod gets uber-pissed later, but I never caught that, at first, he was frightened...and so was all Jerusalem
3:2; 4:17 - The Kingdom HAS COME near. We misunderstand this verse gravely when we state that the Kingdom is near or that it is coming near...this is very clearly a past tense statement of a present reality...the Kingdom HAS COME...it is here...going on right now
3:8 - "bear fruit worthy of repentance" (NRSV) - what does that mean do you think?
5:6 - "If you HUNGER and THIRST for righteousness...you will be FILLED" - Could I really define my heart with a HUNGER and a THIRST?
5:11 - "Blessed are you who are persecuted...ON MY ACCOUNT" - NOT because you're an ass
- How would 5:19 compare and come alongside "the least of these"?
5:42 - "Give to EVERYONE...do not refuse ANYONE." - Another instance when Jesus is clearly stark where we like to be muddy and faint...I'm sorry; I mean where...I...like to be muddy and faint.
5:47 - "What more are you doing than others?" - A haunting question I am slow to answer today.
6:2-6, 16,18 - "They will receive their reward...you will receive your reward." They will receive the reward they wanted which was attention, but if we do as Jesus has called us, we will receive our reward as well. The question here is, "What reward do you seek?"
6:11 - "give us this day our DAILY BREAD" - this is to say, give us what we need and not beyond that. We do not seek to hoard and consume more than we actually need.
6:21 - "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be" - At Christmas time, I wonder how much we have connected LOVE to what sort of gift I get/give.
6:33 - If you choose NOT to worry, Jesus gives you an action plan.
WHAT ARE YOUR REFLECTIONS ON Matthew 1-6
LISTENING TO: "Light" by Matisyahu