I love church history. I love to study church history but, specifically, the lives of men and women who lived well before the Lord by faith. One of the things historians (and biographers) love to record are lives lived with passion. There is no substitute for a life lived with passion. You can’t fake passion, because passions always cost. You can’t be passionate about reaching the peoples of the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not have it cost you. It will cost you your money, your time, your comfort or maybe even your dreams. But it will always costs. If our passions are not costing us anything, then they aren’t truly passions.
When the Lord breathes into a life and His objectives become the high desire of our hearts, then we can really begin to live before the Lord. There is simply no substitute for the passionate life. The Bible is full of passionate people. Can there be any other way to live?
A great example of this passion was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. This man’s life was nothing short of remarkable. He began pastoring at such a young age, they called him the “boy preacher”. People would ride for hours to hear him preach. His passionate preaching was legendary. I have a book of his sermons, but oh how I wish I could hear him preach them!! He pastored a megachurch in London, before the term even meant anything.
Once a reporter asked Spurgeon why so many people came every week to hear him preach. His answer is simple, yet profound, “When I preach, the Holy Spirit lights me on fire and people come to watch me burn.” I want that. I want the Lord to so ignite my life that people around me can’t help but warm themselves by the heat.
But true Christian passion has its enemies. Our culture and the American dream are huge enemies of Godly passions. As John Piper has said it, “We Americans live in Disneyland…a land of amusements and entertainments.” No one goes to Disneyland to lay down their life for an eternal cause. We goto Disneyland to play and be entertained. Nothing kills holy passion like addiction to entertainment. Passions call us to lay everything aside. Our culture teaches us to lay nothing aside; grab as much as you can.
Jesus summerized it perfectly, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it (Matt. 16:25).” This verse doesn’t make sense in our culture or to those who have been heavily influenced by it. But there have been some who have got ahold of this idea, and let it burn bright in their lives. Men and women like Spurgeon. Oh that God would light our lives on fire and teach us to to save our lives by losing them…