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?
 

for when we’re face-to-face with someone’s bad day

Poor guy. The drink machines weren’t working which meant that his customers were thirsty. Once the line went down I politely, quietly went up to the counter to ask if he could fill my cup with some water from the tap. “The drink machine is broken!” he barked. I felt my eyes widen and my head jerk back a little and then I kindly nodded with understanding. I silently turned and made my way back to my seat.

“Geez. He doesn’t have to be so rude,” I thought to myself. But then I remembered what a stupid rough morning it must have been for him. I mean, being a manager of a restaurant with a broken drink machine has to come with some level of stress. First-world problems. So I just prayed for him.

A couple of minutes passed and then he came to my table. “I’m sorry, it’s just that we only have tap water and it’s not cold,” he said with regret in his voice. “Don’t worry about it. Really. It’s no big deal,” I assured him. He held up his index finger as if to say “give me a second,” and then he rushed around the counter. I saw him grab a bottled water from what looked like the staff refrigerator. “Here,” he said, “I insist. It’s the least I can do.” I took it with a thank you and then he got back to work. Humbled.

 

When faces with someone else's bad day
(And just to protect the innocent,
this incident did not happen at a Starbucks.)

 

That could have turned out completely different. I could have mouthed back. I wanted to mouth back. I could have jumped over the counter and…done…something. I’m such a trouble-maker. Not really. I could have entered into his bad day and taken on his bad attitude changing the whole course of my good morning. Thankfully, I didn’t.

But I do. When it’s someone close to me — like…my kids — I can get offended. I can enter into their bad day and take on their bad attitude and change the whole course of my good morning. Why do I do that?!

It’s so much better when, by God’s absolute grace and only through His Spirit’s empowering, I leave a buffer between me and someone else’s bad day. When I look at things from a less defensive approach — praying rather than talking back, speaking blessing rather than cursing — the results are beauty rather than tornado-ish, relational destruction.

We all have bad days. But instead of taking on someone else’s bad day, we get a choice. We get to choose our response.

I can’t do it on my own. He’s gracious to indwell us. I don’t always do it well. He’s gracious to forgive us. But if I’ve spent time communing with God and meditating on true things, I’m much more apt to intercede. When I’ve allowed Him to fill me full of Himself, I’m much less needy for others to give me security.

 

A beautiful prayer that Paul prayed for others:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-19

 

It’s going to happen because it’s Thursday, and we live on this planet. Someone around us will struggle against their heart or their circumstance in search of true joy. But we get to choose our response. We can choose to help them rather than drag them further down. We can choose to stand in the gap, praying to the only One who’s able to heal-hearts and change perspectives.

It’s our choice, today.

 
Fill me, Lord…

What helpful things do you do when face-to-face with someone else’s bad day?
 

“here” is where God wants to use you

Church messed me up on Sunday.

I overslept because I got home really late Saturday night/Sunday morning from a conference. My husband left early for work and my kids never woke me because TV puts them in a time warp. So when I finally arose from my slumber we rushed around like crazy people to get to church semi-on-time. I think one of my kids may have eaten gummie snacks for breakfast.

After I dropped them off at their classes — finally noticing that none of them had actually brushed their hair and hoping desperately that they had brushed their teeth — I hurried to my own classroom where a dear sister-friend was already sharing about her recent trip to Africa. I settled into a seat and slowed my breathing from the sprint up the stairs.

And in seconds I sunk deep into her stories.

I could tell you everything that the team did in that desolate place or try to paint a picture of those sweet, orphan, HIV faces, but it wouldn’t do any of it justice. So I’ll just tell you what her testimony stirred in me.

 

Here.

 

I sat with tears running down my face and a conversation with God in my spirit. “Lord, I want to be used by You to do big things on this planet. I want to honor You with my life in big ways — going overseas and speaking more and writing books (faster). I just want my life to make a deep mark on this world for Your glory in this short breath of time You’ve granted me.”

Her testifying ended but my tears continued whenever I imagined the faces of those sweet kids. And my conversation lingered in me throughout the day. Until eventually, God clearly spoke. Not audibly because I might have completely freaked.

I was sitting in my favorite morning chair, telling God again how I wanted to be used by Him to do big stuff, like change the world. Because I’m a dreamer. And it was as if He placed His hand on my restless spirit and whispered with a smile, “I have you exactly where I want you, doing wildly powerful, eternal things even in this day, in these things, with these people that I place in your moments.”

And with that He graced me with perspective. Wanting to go and see exotic places or pray over foreign lands or feed hungry, sick children isn’t wrong. Lord, forgive us for static feet. I truly believe He put this passionate, take-me-wherever spirit in me, and it makes Him smile. He tells us to go, and by His grace He will lead us at different times in our lives to walk on unfamiliar ground seeing unfamiliar worlds. And being willing to go wherever He leads honors our Lord.

But most of us, most of the time, are just “here”. We’re in the midst of what seems to be mundane, unromantic living. Yet there’s something really important about “here”. You ready for this? Wherever our “here” is, it’s where God has us…with purpose.

 

For we are (God’s) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

 

I don’t always like that reality, because it’s hard to see the eternal impact that comes through a cup of juice given in kindness to my child or a visit to the nursing home or a word of encouragement to a friend. But love fleshed out in the dailiness of life is exactly what changes the world, one moment, one soul at a time.

 

“Love fleshed out in the dailiness of life is exactly what changes the world.”

 

Wanting to “go big or go home” has it’s place. God puts dreams and desires in us as we seek after Him. And often, those dreams are too huge for paper. But more often, our mission field isn’t as glamorous. It’s in our homes and on our street and…in Wal-mart. Lord help us.

In Christ, God has good things, big things, eternal things for us to do. And though that may mean time in Africa, it absolutely, unquestionably means today in our “here”.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How have you wrestled with accepting your “here” as your mission field?