The Pursuit of Passion Series: Reflection 7 of 7
Editor’s Note: In David Bryant’s “Pursuit of Passion” series, we’ve covered a lot of ground. In this final installment, he provides us with several stimulating themes we can use to probe how far we’ve come in our own journey toward fervency for Christ’s supremacy.
Looking back over the past six weeks, you’ll see that we’ve used different words and phrases in this series to describe a radical kind of affection for Jesus as Lord:
- The importance of obsession with Christ
- The dangers of misdirecting our affections away from Christ
- Directing our affection toward Christ
- Effective habits of passionate Christians
- Consuming passion for Christ
- Fervency for Christ’s supremacy
You’ll have to admit these are concepts you usually don’t hear in normal conversation among Christians on a Sunday morning!
Yet Scripture calls for nothing less than such passion for Jesus. For example, listen to Paul (who said he was an example for every believer):
Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. (Philippians 3, The Message, emphasis added)
These verses remind us that in this series we’ve also discovered that the pursuit of such passion is precisely what the Father wants from us—that we would be as passionate for his Son as the Father is himself.
Fundamentally that’s what it means when Paul writes in Colossians 1 that “in everything Christ is to have the supremacy.” Our hearts are to be totally wrapped up in him alone. After all, this is our destiny: nothing less than an eternity full of growing in intimacy with Christ in his supremacy. Remarkable!!
So then, as we conclude let me ask you this: When it comes to your walk with your Savior right now, what would you say your PQ is—that is, your “passion quotient”?
To get at the answer, others have found it helpful to reflect on a set of questions most Christians have never been asked before. Has anyone ever asked them of you?
These probes can help pinpoint where your passion for Christ stands at the moment and where it needs to burn stronger in order to cure any shortfalls in how you exult in Christ and exalt Christ for the rest of your life in Christ.
Questions for Pinpointing Your Passion Quotient
- What usually absorbs my affections on a daily basis? What do I get excited about? What genuinely preoccupies me? What are my main obsessions? What would people observing me say they are? More practically, how do I spend my time? Where do I spend my money?
- What challenges arouse my interest? What causes inspire my commitment? Where do my true ambitions lie? In what ways does the cause of Christ inspire me and absorb me in conscious steps of involvement in it, with him and for him? Are there daily expressions of this?
- What do I consider to be the pinnacle of my life’s purpose—the reason I was created and redeemed in the first place? Where does Jesus fit in? In what sense has he himself become for me personally not only my identity but also my destiny? Is it my intention to live daily at the center of who he is, where he is headed, what he is doing, and how he gets blessed?
- In what sense does my current vision of the greatness, goodness, and glory of God’s Son, and the increasing hope in God this instills, ignite in me a commitment to live so that all I do and say expresses my fervency for him? And if my vision does this for me, what am I doing on a regular basis to enlarge and enrich and expand how I view Jesus and all the wonders found in him?
- How has Christ’s passion for me ennobled all my passions and desires toward him? Do I regularly meditate on the dimensions of his love for me as seen in his incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension? How aware am I day by day that I am living in his presence, under his reign, by his power, as the focus of his love and care? If so, in what ways am I responding back to him by word and deed to love him the way he deserves?
- How much do I think about the relationship of the Father to the Son—about the depth of the Father’s commitment to his Son from all eternity? How has the Father’s passion for his Son stirred up my own desire to be much more passionate for him? How often do I turn that passion into worship and praise toward the Triune God? Do I ever fear being labeled as someone who has become too fanatical about Jesus or too radical for him? Why is that? What is it I really fear? Am I determined to confront those fears and cease hiding how devoted I am to Christ and his kingdom—beginning with how I talk about him among fellow believers?
- How do I intend to increase a life marked by an obsession with my Redeemer so that it makes a difference for others? How can my fervency of Jesus incite other believers to be more passionate for him—by what I say about his majesty and by how I show his righteousness and compassion in my daily walk?
- Am I prepared to pour out my life for a Christ Awakening within my own church, to reintroduce fellow believers to him for all he is? Am I willing to be misunderstood in my efforts? Am I willing to pray and press on, no matter what the cost, until I can bring others to join me in the pursuit of passion for the Person who is our Lord and our only life?
Come! A Prayer in Pursuit of Passion
In Revelation 22, Scripture concludes with two invitations—almost commands—related to a Christian’s life of passion. Interestingly, both invitations involve the word “Come.”
COME! (verse 17). One invitation is spoken by Christ to believers. He invites us to enter his presence in order to consume him. He invites us to drink deeply of all he has to offer of the water of life, which he actually is for us. It is a call to embrace his centrality in our lives and churches.
COME! (verse 20). The second invitation is issued back to Christ from believers. We welcome him to invade us so fully that we are consumed with the splendors of the revelation of his righteous rule over heaven and earth. It is a longing for richer experiences of his supremacy in our lives and churches.
The pursuit of passion—whether encouraged by God’s Son or expressed by God’s people—cries out in unison with God’s Spirit: “Come!”
Both cries draw directly from the breadth and depth of ALL Jesus is. Both cries rise from a largeness of vision for God’s Son—from a joy in his centrality, but most of all from joy in his supremacy.
Come! It is the only response that matches the magnitude of our Monarch.
If that’s the destiny toward which Scripture calls us, should our personal, daily walk with Jesus be shaped by anything less than a desire for the same two “comings”—our coming to him (consuming him) and his coming to us (consumed with him)?
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.