Sizzlin’ Summer: How to Stop Going Through the Motions
It can be all too easy for us to fall into thoughtless patterns, sinking into familiar routines rather than passionately pursuing our Father. So how do we stop going through the motions? How do we intentionally pursue the purpose God has for us instead of just mindlessly moving from day to day? Passion is not a feeling, not a sensation. We can be passionate about things that we don’t necessarily feel “all the feelings for.” For example, you may not feel excited about everything that comes with being a parent all the time, but you choose to be passionate about it regardless. It is a choice. You haven’t lost a passion; you left it. Remember where it all started, where it all began. Remember how it felt when you first got saved; the joy that you experienced when you first tasted the freedom that Jesus brings. That passion that you experienced is not something lost to the past – it is something you can choose to come back to by remembering where you came from. Not regretting where you are now but remembering where you came from can ignite that passion inside you again.
We can get so wrapped up in the “what” rather than that “why.” Revelation 2:2-5 (ESV) says: “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. It’s not what you do that makes it meaningful, it’s who you do it for.” This is what it comes down to: it’s not what we do, it’s who we do it for. We can do all the right things, but we need to do them for the right reasons. Isn’t it wonderful that we have the choice? Just as we have the choice to remember why we married our spouse to begin with and to love them with that first love, we have the choice to do the same with Jesus.
Let’s take a look at the life of King David. As a young shepherd boy, he was filled with a passion for his God and his people. Here’s what happened when the giant Goliath came against the people of Israel: “David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45-46 NIV). Hear the passion in his words. He was fiercely passionate about God and his people – and he acted on that passion.
So where did David’s passion come from?
- He trusted God daily. This is key. Trusting God in the hard stuff can seem hard, but it is the only way to live a purpose-driven life. We cannot do this on our own; we need to put our hope and trust in God because He’s the one who loves us beyond our wildest imaginings. Trusting Him when things are going well and trusting Him when things are crazy are equally important.
- He walked with God daily. David had so much passion and a strong desire to do God’s will – and that came with walking with God every day. When we walk with God on a daily basis, we have that connection to Him that keeps our focus on that first love.
- He worshiped God daily. David worshiped God daily – and when you worship God daily, something inside you shifts until you cannot get enough of glorifying Him. When we worship God every day, we experience a closeness with Him that pulls us up and out of the mundane and into the place God has for us in this season.
Daily is key here. When we put off time with the Lord, we become vulnerable and our focus can skew. When David took his eyes off his calling, his passion shifted from its right course into something destructive. Instead of running to the battle like he did as a young boy, David stayed at the palace to attend to his own comfort, which ultimately led to the destruction of several lives when he had an affair with Bathsheba. There were two seasons in David’s life: with passion, David ran into the battle to serve his God. With apathy, David walked on the roof to serve his comfort.
When David realized that he had let his passion for God drift, he wrote: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me… Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:10, 12 NIV). The joy of God’s salvation is something we need to dwell on; when we do, it awakens our remembrances and makes it easiest to choose passion over apathy. Even when our passion gets out of place, God doesn’t leave us there. He is always waiting for us to turn to Him and spend time with Him – and it is never too late to choose to return to our passion.