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?
 

what’s stealing from you?

I ask God on a daily basis to reveal stuff that’s hanging around in my heart. Stuff that’s ultimately stealing life from me. Because I’ve learned something about myself over the years: my heart is whack. It meditates on stuff and creates scenarios and lingers on fears that steal the life Christ died to give me. And it needs constant Divine supervision and intervention.

I don’t always listen to what God tells me after I’ve asked that question. Sometimes He reveals stuff that I just really don’t want to address at the moment, thank you very much. And in those instances I do something really mature like close my spiritual ears with my spiritual fingers and internally shout, “la-la-la-la-la-la.” And it always turns out stupid.

But other times, by His grace, I don’t resist. I listen and agree with Him. I confess my hardened, proud heart. I usually cry, because I’m a cry baby. And when I actually humble myself, sweet healing and greater soul freedom always follows.

Like the other day.

 

what is stealing life from you

 

I’ve talked about my struggles with homeschooling. blah blah blah But one thing about this homeschooling gig is it comes with LOTS of time with my kids. Lots of time. And I love them. Deeply. Dearly. Ferociously. And I know that the time flies. And I know it’s a gift. And I’m not wishing it away.

But I’ve noticed that as these pockets of time remain long and longer, my heart can get a little calloused towards my (wild, sweet, energetic) kids. I can fall into “drill sergeant” mode and miss the soul behind their mistakes…and their successes.

So the other day I asked God to reveal what was going on in my heart. Because a lack of joy or the feeling of hopelessness always and forever reveals something more than circumstance. It reveals something taking up residence in my heart other than my God and His perspective. And He tenderly showed me some…junk.

He showed me some expectations that weren’t from Him. He revealed some inconsistencies that weren’t from Him. He reminded me of His sovereign hand over and around and in my parenting. But the biggest thing He whispered had to do with my thought life towards my kids — some irritable thoughts that were lying deep beneath the surface, coloring my facial expressions and tone and attitude.

And He showed me by giving me a fresh vision of His love towards me. Not by smashing me with a hammer.

I was reading and talking to Him and thanking Him for His promises in Isaiah 43. But when I got to verse 4, I couldn’t go any further because He says, “You are precious in my eyes, honored, and I love you.” The tenderness put a big lump in my throat for a minute. He has tender love for me. And for you. And for my kids.

Motherhood is hard. And kids rarely listen to our instructions the first bazillion times we say them. But I desperately want to remain tender in my love. Not calloused. So I did the only thing I know to do — the thing that initiates His healing. I confessed the hardened places and asked Him to restore. And when my kids woke up that morning I bombarded them with life words, “You are precious in my eyes, honored, and I love you!”

 

“You are precious in my eyes, honored, and I love you.”
Isaiah 43:4

 

Healing from heart “issues” takes time. It takes a wrestling of our thoughts. It takes the Spirit of God empowering us from moment to moment. But God is in the business of transforming us from glory to glory so that we will experience the life Jesus died to give us. Yes, we’ll still fail. Alot. We’ll keep entertaining fears and meditating on lies. But the beautiful grace of God keeps beckoning us back into His presence. And in His presence is freedom.

 
Fill me, Lord…

From what has He freed your heart in recent days?
Or what are you wrestling against these days?

 

Oh and psst…I get to tell you about a pretty exciting giveaway Monday in celebration of the Advent study I just released. Stay tuned!

 

fellow mamas, press on in hope

Y’all. The most precious thing ever happened to my mama-heart the other night. If you’ve been around these here parts for a while you may have heard me talk about my sweet middle son and how God has used him, and continues to use him, to crucify my flesh. A-hem. Meaning, I question my parenting abilities continually when in his presence. And we’re not even to the teen years yet! Lord, help me.

Anyway, the other night my daughter came running to get me with, “Mom, you have to come hear Bryson in the shower!” I quickly followed her down the hall, stopping at the slightly opened door of the bathroom.

He was preaching to himself, with inflection and passion and conviction. And I crumbled.

 

hope

 

“…(mid-sermon) I don’t know how to think that! But GOD! God can think ahead. Like…what if I was one of the disciples, and God knew ahead. And God — Mom always told me that God is bigger — and God knew ahead that Penny (our dog) would bite me. And He knew ahead that I would hit Penny…” I recorded it.

He was preaching God’s omniscient sovereignty to himself — without the big theology terms. And seriously. I crumbled in the hallway. Especially when I heard him say, “Mom always told me…” Mom always told me.

Sometimes I grow weary in this mothering thing. Because I say something 8 gazillion trillion times and it seems like nothing is sinking in. Like I’m that Charlie Brown teacher, “wah wah wah wah wah.” Then moments like this happen. God graces me with a glimpse into my child’s soul where I get to see my boy process the depths of God. And I’m inspired to keep on. I’m inspired to keep on sowing seeds with hope of a one-day harvest.

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
(Romans 15:13)

 

Jesus has something to say to our weariness, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:8-10)

This passage isn’t exactly talking about motherhood, but the principles apply. We as moms sow seeds of truth — seeds to the Spirit — day in and day out. We sow and sow, often without seeing any harvest. But I believe that God wants to speak straight to our mama-heart, that we not grow weary in “doing good” — in teaching and training in the things of God — but that we press on with hope in Him, one step, then the next step, and then the next.

Weariness is rooted in hopelessness. And hopelessness isn’t our inheritance in Christ. God is our hope. He is the hope for our children. And He is good. So let’s not give up. When weariness presses down today, let’s preach true things to our souls — in due season we will reap the things we’ve sown to the Spirit. In Jesus name.

Oh and awesome side note, two days later, all three of my kids went through believer’s baptism! A long, amazing, unexpected story for another day.

Press on, fellow mama. Press on.

 
Fill me, Lord…

How have you seen hopelessness steal from you?
What truths are you going to think about today when weariness presses down?