Monday, April 6, 2015

Passion Gets Deeper (not older)

From time to time I see something that makes me think, “I don’t want to be that way.”  One of those situations is when I see an older couple eating in a restaurant and they don’t talk.  They may sit down and make a comment or two about what’s on the menu, but spend the rest of their time looking around the room and ignoring each other.  That sight makes me wonder what happened.  I mean, can you imagine a young couple on their first date essentially ignoring each other?  (If they do, I sort of think it will also be their last date!)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing when I stop to focus on the couples who no longer communicate in public.  The sight of them sitting and eating silently makes more more than a little sad for them.  Life is way too short and we humans are made for healthy intimacy; what a tragic reality that many couples don’t talk anymore!

By the way, young couples who read this might want to make a mental note of how often communication is cut off from each other by the incessant message notifications that scream from our phones: “READ ME NOW AND SEND ME A REPLY!”  It could be that you are setting yourself up for a bad habit of not practicing the art of intimate communication with that person across the table.

The couple below are holding hands.  This picture was taken a few months before their 65th wedding anniversary.  I know that they have kept up the hard work of communicating because I have watched them for over 40 years…they are Cathy’s parents.  I thought of them recently when I was told about a teen at our church who commented to her mom about her appreciation when she noticed Cathy and I holding hands at the end of our annual Tenebrae service.
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I mention talking and touching because both help stoke up the fires of passion.  Those fires were designed to last a lifetime and are well worth tending.  The type of passion I want to talk about today is the passion God intended us to have with Him.  The relationship he has offered us was made possible through His Son Jesus Christ, who died and rose again to conquer the power of death…spiritual death…that had it’s grip on all of us from birth.  That relationship is made real through the person of the Holy Spirit, who comes to dwell in those who believe.

The passionate relationship God designed for us to have with him is just as fragile as human relationships, though.  Way too many people start following Jesus, then get lost along the way.  They quit communicating and stop listening to the point that they are like the couple looking around the restaurant.  They notice all kinds of other things but lose connection with the One they love the most.  In the case of our relationship with Christ, He is never the one who moves away!  In fact, I am convinced that He is always as close as a simple calling out on our part and always ready to restore the communication.

I made a conscious decision some time back that I don’t want to lose the passion of my relationship with Jesus.  I want it to get deeper, not older.  I choose to sing songs of faith sometimes out of discipline rather than raw emotion.  I choose to stop and reflect on Scripture, even when it doesn’t seem to speak directly to me.  I choose to pray and write in my journal, even when it feels mechanical rather than personal.  Why keep doing those things when I’m not feeling them?  I want my passion to grow!

“Love Jesus Passionately” is the first step of our Stone Ridge discipleship process.  We deeply believe that every Christ-follower can grow more passionate in their love relationship with Jesus.  That’s our subject this weekend in our first installment of “The Walk.”  If you must miss it, make sure it's not because you’re stuck in restaurant silence with someone you love.  Catch the podcast here.