how to create a culture of passion for Jesus in our homes

“Passion isn’t taught. It’s caught.” That was the exclamation point on our pastor’s sermon last Sunday. And I can’t stop thinking about it.

I mean, I’d say that my deepest desire is to be passionate for my God. I can get pretty fired up in a worship service standing next to other believers, hands raised high, telling God to take us wherever He wants us to go. Add a smoke machine and flashing lights and watch the heck out. But put me in my everyday life with my everyday struggles and the everyday frustrations and y’all, I have to wrestle my heart. Constantly.

 

culture of passion for Jesus

 

It’s like my passion for a clean home or obedient kids or quiet or…coffee…can trample my passion for Jesus in 2.8 seconds flat if I’m not on guard. External remedies for the thirst within can tempt my focus. And they’re convincing.

I know there’s “regular” life to live and we can’t always be on that “mountaintop” with Jesus. But I’m certain that my pastor is right about passion. People in our sphere of influence will more quickly do what we do, rather than do what we say. So if we’re going to create a “culture of passion” in our homes for the Lord, then it has to begin in us. Passion for Him isn’t manipulated or faked. It can’t be demanded or bought. It’s the natural overflow of His Spirit not only sealing us, but filling us full.

So what stops His Spirit from filling us full? Well. To put it blunt. Sin. Sin hinders His fullness in our lives. Which is why, if we want to live a passionate-for-Jesus life out of the overflow of Him in us, we have to be willing to bow low — to repent when self rises up — moment by moment.

It’s asking for eyes to see and ears to hear and tenderness to know when unlove or fear or resentment or anger or bitterness or gossip (or a million other expressions of self) rears its ugly head. The flesh trying to stomp out the Spirit’s reign in us. The second we finally see the messy sin that’s being pressed out of our hearts through our circumstance, by His absolute grace, we stop. We repent. We let the blood of Jesus cleanse us from that flesh rebellion. Then we move forward in His mercy, welcoming the fullness of His Spirit.

Then we do it all over again the next time our sin rises up.

Then the next.

By His power, we have to actively war against the sin in our souls. Or else, I promise, the sin will eat us — our joy, our peace, and our hope — alive. And passion for Jesus will become something we only look at from afar.

To me, passion for Jesus in the midst of everyday, looks like a war against my own heart. It looks like outward repentance that affects my emotions and my choices. It looks like choosing to praise and dance even when I feel despair. It looks like taking my thoughts captive to what’s true by verbally remembering what He says in His Word. It looks like a race — running hard and with endurance, eyes set on the finish line.

We’re going to fail. And thankfully the salvation, and even the passion, of others doesn’t actually rest in our hands — God alone raises the dead soul. But everyday, in Him, we get some choices. By His grace, we can choose to commune with our Father. In His strength, we can choose to fight the fight of faith. Because of Jesus, we can create a culture of passion in our homes as we press into Him, one moment then the next.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How would you describe “passion for Jesus” in the everyday of life?
 

journals and art and missions and…free-ish stuff

Well, hello darlings. (I said that with a British accent in case you’re wondering. Which you’re not. Moving on…) I’m excited to share something with you, my online-family-ish-of-sorts. (I’ve obviously had too much coffee today.)

My 11-year-old daughter is going on her very first mission trip this summer to the Spanish Wells. And she has to take a parent. So I have to go with her. #Iamsostinkingexcited

Anyway, we’ve been brainstorming on how we could raise support for this trip and God inspired her creative side. One day she came in with a beautiful watercolor picture taped onto a journal and asked me, “Mom, do you think I could make these journals and sell them to raise money for the mission trip?” Um, yeah, they’re amazing!

 

 

So I bought some journals and she started painting a replica…which took her a looooonnnnnggggg time because my sweet thing is an artist-perfectionist. And that’s when I realized, “Wait. I’m an author. And I’ve self-published books. I could probably help her with this endeavor.”

So we took a picture of her watercolor(s), chose the font she liked for lettering the verses she chose, and voila. We created two journal covers. From there we designed a 180-page journal of blank/lined pages, hopefully to meet all your journaling needs. And now we’re having them printed through CreateSpace.

 

 

“How can I get my hands on this amazing watercolor-covered journal?” I’m so glad you asked.

1. You could buy it through CreateSpace. And that would be wonderful, but we won’t actually see those proceeds until after our April 30th support raising deadline.

2. OR you can get a “free” one. “How?” you ask. Great question. I’m giving them away to those who donate to our mission trip BEFORE April 30th. Here’s what I’m thinking…

  • If you donate $40 or more, I will send you a free (11-year-old-artist-cover-designed) journal.
  • If you donate $80 or more, I will send you a free journal and a paperback copy of one of my Bible studies.
  • If you donate $150 or more, I will send you TWO free journals (one of each design) and TWO paperback copies of my Bible studies.
  • If you donate $1000 or more, I will come to your house and personally give you a pedicure. And give you journals and books and coffee and chocolate. (local contributors are only eligible for this last option.)

 

If you want to help us on this venture, simply click this link –> DONATE HERE <-- donate what you feel led to donate and then email me at laragwilliams(at)gmail(dot)com to give us your mailing address.

Your support — financial and prayer — is vital to us. And so very appreciated. By the grace of our good God, I pray He uses this trip to spark an even greater love for Him, for people, and for missions in these precious 5th and 6th graders. They truly can’t wait to “tell other kids about Jesus.”

 

mission trip

 
 

six words. one question. life altering.

This one’s short and sweet, people. Six words. One question. The answer to which determines the trajectory (<-- my favorite word) of our lives.

“Who am I trying to please?”

 

Who am I trying to please

 

God graciously flipped the tables on me recently. Proverbially. He pulled back the veil. He opened my eyes to a deeply affecting truth that trying to please anyone anyone other than Him won’t work out how I hope. Because trying to please anyone other than Him is…well…idolatry. Yep. The “i” word hurts.

I won’t go into the gory (or not-so-gory) details of how He showed me my flesh tendencies to please certain people, but recognizing it for what it is and repenting to my God for vainly trying to put someone where only He belongs, has ushered in a new freedom. It has shifted something in me. It has brought a fresh confidence to walk in who He declares me to be — holy, righteous, called, equipped, daughter of the Most High God because of Jesus.

 

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?
Or am I trying to please man?
If I were still trying to please man,
I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10

 

The enemy is crafty. He connivingly beckons our hearts down roads paved with tricky little lies that sound somewhat godly. But the end is death — death of joy and death of confidence and death of experiencing the identity Jesus died to give us.

So I leave you with the question that God’s been asking me in recent days, “Who are you trying to please?” Don’t cuss me. Just think about it. Really think about it. Ask Him to show you. And then be ready. Because repentance leads to healing and healing leads to joy and joy leads to dancing and dancing leads to…people staring. But let ’em stare. In Christ, we’re dancing in the pleasure of our Father.

 
Fill me, Lord…

Have you struggled to please certain people? How did that turn out for you?