The Pursuit of Passion Series: Reflection 3
Editor’s Note: In the third installment of our blog series, David Bryant explores what it means for Jesus followers to be consumed with God’s Son as a way of life. Last week’s entry concluded by listing seven steps that can fire up our hearts with unfettered devotion to the Savior. This week David expands these steps into what he calls “seven habits” (echoing the title of Stephen Covey’s international best seller)—seven practical disciplines of Biblical and passion-driven discipleship.
One glorious day our Lord Jesus Christ will assert himself openly, to be seen for who he has been all along: the center and circumference of everything, for everyone, for all time to come.
But our Lord hasn’t postponed until the Consummation his intention to increase our wholehearted response to the majesty of his supremacy. He refuses to delay inflaming our love for him until the hour he returns in triumphant glory!
Rather, right now he wants to engage the affections of all believers as Lord of all. The fact is, at this moment throughout his Church, our Lord Jesus is actively inciting increased homage—seeking to intensify and deepen our daily devotion to him and his global cause.
But how can we offer our King today the level of ardent affection he will rightfully compel from us tomorrow when we see him face-to-face?
Here’s the good news: The Bible provides seven effective “habits” that define Christ-driven daily discipleship. I’ve put them into seven little words that sum up everything the Bible teaches about how highly passionate followers of Jesus get that way. These practices can become the hallmark of any life that belongs to him.
Let me overview these seven “habits” and then give you practical ways to implement them.
Seven “S” Words that Mark the Path to Passion
Take a look at these seven simple words introduced last week at the close of my second blog post in “The Pursuit of Passion Series.” Each begins with an “S” to make them easier to remember. They are:
SEE / SEEK / SAVOR / SPEAK / SHOW / SERVE / SHARE
There is a logical sequence you may want to follow when you start to implement them:
1) SEE Christ more for all he is, as you study about him in God’s Word . . . which leads to
2) SEEK Christ more for all he is, as you ask for more of him in prayer . . . which leads to
3) SAVOR Christ more for all he is, as you sing praises of him and to him . . . which leads to
4) SPEAK of Christ more for all he is, as you teach fellow believers about him . . . which leads to
5) SHOW Christ more for all he is, as you imitate him in word and deed . . . which leads to
6) SERVE Christ more for all he is, as you minister to others in his name . . . which leads to
7) SHARE Christ more for all he is, as you point others to him as Redeemer and Lord
First, we want to start to SEE more of Christ’s greatness and glory as he reigns at God’s right hand. A practical and valuable starting point is to take advantage of the free resources at www.ChristNow.com, perhaps by joining the 50-day journey through The Christ Institutes Video Series offered there. Or sign up for the two-minute devotions, which are built around 365 titles for Jesus in Scripture and sent to your email inbox every day.
Or try this approach: Use a highlighter pen to work through a book of the Bible by underlining every verse or passage that reveals more of who Christ is today. For example, highlight the many Messianic prophecies in Isaiah that foreshadow dimensions of Christ’s kingdom glory, or texts in Colossians that define how that glory is being fully displayed today. Once you’ve finished this exercise, spend time meditating on the highlighted passages and how they help you see Christ better.
The more we see of the greatness of Christ the more we want to SEEK engagement with Christ. In other words, the more of his magnificent qualities we discover the greater will be our desire to know him far better. Essentially this involves developing an ongoing life of prayer.
So where do we start? Try this: Go back to the highlighted passages you’ve uncovered—where the Bible highlights more of who Jesus is—and turn those verses into your prayers. Pray for fresh insight and revelation into those specific truths. Invite the leadership of the Holy Spirit to show you how to obey Christ in ways that magnify these truths in your life and witness for him.
Above all, let your constant prayer be for the Father to increase your devotion toward Jesus so that you become passionate for his Son for all he is—expressed in word and deed.
“[Help me to] grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3) should form our heart’s cry every day we walk with him.
The more we see him and seek him, the more he will reveal himself to us. This should cause us to SAVOR him—that is, to worship him and exult in him and adore him—as a way of life.
One practical way to begin is to revisit a traditional hymn book. Study the words of some of the great worship anthems of the Church that focus on Christ, such as the hymns of Charles Wesley (nearly 3000). Whether you sing the words or not, meditate on how others have expressed their savoring of the wonders of Christ—and then join them, at least by reading the words out loud!
Here’s another suggestion: View the free worship videos at ChristNow.com that are expressly chosen to draw our hearts to Christ. Click onto one a day, maybe during your Bible study and prayer time. Let them fill your heart with praise toward Jesus. At times, you might even sing along.
But growing our passion for Christ doesn’t stop there. Believers who see, seek, and savor Christ for all he is cannot avoid a growing desire to SPEAK much more about him to others—especially with fellow Christians. The Bible calls for nothing less as believers come together.
Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense (Colossians 3, MSG).
This can happen on a Sunday morning, or in a weekly Sunday school class or Bible study group, or with family members around the dinner table. Or share something of Christ in your next email or tweet or Facebook post.
Whenever we share the glories of Christ with fellow believers, the promise of Scripture is that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10, NIV). That means the more we pour the truths about the greatness of our Savior into each other the more we cause each other to grow in our vision and faith and passion toward him.
Another practical strategy for sharing is the “SEE something, SAY something” discipline. Each week, commit yourself to spend enough time in Scripture and prayer until one wonderful insight into Jesus you see excites you in fresh ways. Then commit yourself to carry that life-giving truth with you to church on Sunday, determined to say in 30 seconds to another brother or sister what you have seen. You might conclude by praying with them that the Spirit would increase in both of you more passion for Christ based on this truth.
If we’re consumed with Christ by how we see, seek, savor, and speak more of him, eventually this will transform how we SHOW him—the ways we begin to imitate him, expressing in very personal ways his grace and truth, his character and qualities, his strength and compassion.
Someone has rightly observed: “We end up looking like what we keep looking at.” In other words, the more we focus on Christ and increase our passion for him, the more we grow into his likeness. It follows quite naturally. In turn, as our example inspires others to pursue more of Christ, it takes our own love for him even deeper.
After Paul talked about the full extent of his undiluted pursuit of Christ in Philippians 3, he admonished the Philippian believers: “Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example (Philippians 3, NIV). Likewise, he wrote to the Corinthians: “you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11, NIV).
Ministering to others’ needs—especially when we SERVE those in the household of faith—is a very tangible, hands-on approach to express very direct, undying fervor for our King. Jesus stated it well:
Then these righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25, NLT, emphasis added).
The fact is, when a company of God’s people see how much God’s love for us is displayed in his passion for us—the passion of Christ on the cross—then loving his Son by loving each other with the same self-giving love he had for us unleashes in us a more powerful fervency for him. As John concluded:
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other . . . All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God . . . God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4, NLT, emphasis added).
Finally, if by practicing the previous six habits we become more and more intensely wrapped up with Jesus, ultimately wherever we go we will have the deep desire to SHARE the good news of God’s Son with our unbelieving friends. If in our prayer for them, and as we care for them, we also share with them, he will become more precious to us—just as when a bride-to-be eagerly tells all of her friends what a wonderful man her future husband is to her, that very act serves to increase her own longing and passion for him as well.
Well then, those are the seven effective habits that mark Christians who are becoming more and more consumed with Christ. The transformation happens as we . . .
God’s Son for all he is.
When Paul declares of himself “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1), that is what it looks like.
Beginning today, I encourage you to start at the top and work through these seven simple words, and by doing so develop habits that will start to inflame in you a highly passionate heart for God’s Son—for your blessing and Jesus’ glory!
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ-proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI) and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and to Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely-read book at www.ChristIsAllBook.com.