The creative force behind all great art, all great drama, all great music, all great architecture and all great writing is passion. Nothing great is ever accomplished in life without passion. Nothing great is ever sustained in life without passion. Passion is what energizes life. Passion makes the impossible possible. Passion gives you a reason to get up in the morning and go and say, "I’m going to do something with my life today." Without passion life becomes boring. It becomes monotonous. It becomes routine. It becomes dull. God created you with the emotions to have passion in your life and He wants you to live a passionate life for Him. Passion is what mobilizes armies into action. Passion is what causes explorers to boldly go where no man’s gone before. Passion is what causes scientists to spend late night hours trying to find the cure to a dreaded disease. Passion is what takes a good athlete and turns him or her into a great athlete where they’re breaking records. You’ve got to have passion in your life.
One day a man walks up to Jesus and he says, "Lord, what’s the most important thing in the Bible?" And you know what the Great Commandment is. We’ve talked about it many times. Jesus said, "I want you to love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. Nothing matters more than that. That’s the number one thing in life. I want you to love Me passionately." Nothing else matters in life if you don’t love God with passion. God doesn’t want you to love Him half-heartedly. He wants you to love Him with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength.
I love the paraphrase of that verse, Mark 11:30, from The Message "Jesus said, ’Love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy." Circle the word "passion". That word, in Greek, is the word "heart." God is saying I want you to put some muscle into it, put some energy, put some emotion into your relationship with Me. Don’t be a wimp about your relationship with Me. Don’t be namby-pamby. Don’t be half-hearted. Give it all you’ve got. Jesus is saying, "If you’re going to follow Me, you’ve got to go it with passion. You’ve got to give it some oomph, some spark, some zip, some enthusiasm, some zest. In other words I want you to live your life with me passionately."
In fact, this truth is all through the Bible. The Bible tells us that we’re to seek God passionately. We’re to love God passionately. The Bible says that we’re to serve and obey God passionately. We’re to trust God passionately. Then as if you didn’t get the message, in Colossians 3:23 He says "Whatever you do, do it with all of your heart as unto the Lord and not unto men." He says I want you to do everything passionately when it comes to loving Me, serving Me, living for Me.
Here’s the amazing thing. In America it’s ok to be passionate about anything except God. That is not politically correct -- to be passionate about God. I can be passionate about movies. I can be passionate about sports. I can be passionate about politics. I can be passionate about fashions and clothes. I can be passionate about restaurants. But I cannot be passionate about God. That’s a no-no.
I typed in the phrase "a passion for..." into Amazon.com and found a couple hundred books with that title. There’s a book call A Passion for Birds, A Passion for Books, A Passion for Cactus, A Passion for Chocolate (that’s understandable), A Passion for Fashion, ... for Fishing... for Flying, ... for Gardening, ... Golf, Hunting. There’s even a book called A Passion For Mushrooms. A Passion for Needlepoint, Pasta, Ponies. There’s a book called, A Passion for Potatoes, for Roses, for Shoes. There’s even a book called A Passion for Steam. I can’t figure out what that one’s all about! I don’t know why you’d get passionate about steam.
But in our culture today it’s ok to be passionate about anything except your religion, except your...