Passion: strong love (Webster’s Dictionary)
Soon after our engagement, my husband Richard introduced me to one of the great passions of his life: donuts. Specifically, cake ones loaded with sprinkles, icing, and all kinds of sweet goo. For many years, I’ve investigated the fine nuances of what makes a donut melt in your mouth by trekking to all of the area donut stores. And when I bite into a fresh donut, I know whether it’s the real thing or not. But that’s not my passion. My passion is fruit. A few weeks ago, I meandered into a local restaurant and ordered the specialty of the house: tropical fruit tea. I watched the server shake it with gusto. He took about 1/3 cup of tea, squeezed in two fresh oranges, added a slice of lemon, and crumbled in some mint. Ahhh. No mistaking real fruit in that concoction.
There’s nothing like the real thing. On the other hand, there’s nothing as disappointing as false advertising, especially when you can taste the difference between the real thing and the imitation. Authentic faith in Jesus works in the same way. It results in a bona fide, unmistakable taste for loving God and others. It also produces the fruit of the spirit: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). But when man-made ingredients get into the mix, the result lacks authentic flavor.
“Many Christians have wandered into a spiritual wilderness devoid of passion and power. Those who hear and obey the voice of God will escape that wilderness or even see it changed into a garden.”
Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 20.
When I was a young girl, I had a wilderness mentality. I assumed I was a Christian because I went to church and participated in social activities there. I assumed I knew God. I didn’t know that God’s home belonged inside my body. I didn’t know that I didn’t know about a personal relationship with Jesus. I didn’t know that I didn’t know how to listen to Him. I didn’t know about a fallen world and the effects of sin. And I thought the reality of Satan was a joke.
When I worshiped God in form rather than content, I timed prayers on Sunday mornings and thought communion was boring because it made the service take too long. During the week, I thought nothing was wrong with a bad attitude or an unloving heart. Most of the time, I was unaware of what I projected to others. If I didn’t like somebody, conflict was my time to “win” with reactive responses. And, of course, I didn’t “get” love. I thought I had to feel loving to be loving. So each day was a reaction to how I felt. In that context, I was the authority in my life, and I saw Jesus as the assistant who agreed with my daily agenda and my definition of truth. Yet, my faith had no power.
Looking back through my brokenness, I see how sinful and self-oriented I was. By the grace of God, I began to worship God “in spirit and in truth” by renewing my mind with His mind (Romans 12:1-2). My self-talk changed from condemnation to gentle conviction. Internal self-awareness helped me to agree with transcendent truth as God wrote His ways on my heart from the inside out—soul to sole. That profoundly affected my personal choices and transformed my attitudes so that I morphed into a new person. Passion for Jesus took me from “walking in the flesh” to “walking in the Spirit.” Second Corinthians 5:17 even says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!”
As time went on, I realized the way my daily life reflected love through obedience to God demonstrated the practical reality of faith in Christ. I was learning a “new way to be human.” So what’s the point? For God to use you and me effectively as leaders in dance ministry, we must agree with His way of doing things. We are not the ultimate authority in our lives; the Lord Jesus is. And He has sent the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to fill us with the power and passion to do just that. So let’s spend time with the Lord Jesus and rely on Him to lead us in Christian dance ministry.