Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Letting Your Passion Show

One of the things I love most about the gym is the passion I see on everyone's faces. 

No one is there because they have to be. They love being there. Everyone is working their tail off to achieve a goal, and they are enjoying chasing down their dreams. 

Passion is contagious. If there's one thing I learned while sitting in Lloyd Kwast's missions classes at Biola was the importance of passion in teaching. We sat spellbound as he walked us through the book of Acts. He loved his "job." He loved the word. He loved us. And it showed. Passion has been called one of the seven important characteristics of an excellent instructor. We teachers must model for our students what it means to be passionate learners. Teachers who are passionate about what they do give off a special energy that students pick up on. 

My Bible reading this morning was in 1 Tim. 4. 

Notice the 2 commands in verse 15:

Paul writes (literally), "These things care about! In these things be!" The Living Bible says, "Throw yourself into your tasks." The Good News Bible reads, "Practice these things and devote yourselves to them." Philipps has, "Give your whole attention, all your energies, to these things." The Message reads, "Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them."

And why should we do this? Paul writes:

"so that everyone may notice your improvement and progress" (LB).

"in order that your progress may be seen by all" (GNB).

"so that your progress is plain for all to see" (Philipps).

"Then people will see you mature right before their eyes!" (The Message).

But my favorite rendering is probably that of the New Geneva Translation:

"Konzentriere dich also ganz auf diese Aufgaben; lass dich durch nichts beirren. Dann werden die Fortschritte die du 'im Glauben' machst, allen sichtbar sein."

I love that word "Fortschritte." It means "forward steps." To say "Wir machen keine Fortschritte" means "We're getting nowhere." To say "Er hat schulische grosse Fortschritte gemacht" is to say "He's made great progress in school." Such progress is unlikely to occur without passion -- without "throwing yourself into your tasks," without "immersing yourself in them," without giving "your whole strength, all your energies" to them. 

That's how I want to live. That's how I want to love God and others. That's how I want to teach. That's how I want my students to study. That's how I want to grow old. That's how I want to work out at the gym. 

The most passionate people in the world ought to be Christians. Passion is always the result of something that is happening inside of us. It springs from the unquenchable desire in our souls to please God and connects us to our mission in life -- to glorify him. To crib a thought from Jim Elliott: "Wherever you are, be ALL there, and live to the hilt whatever you are convinced is the will of God for your life." This can be a very radical way of living.

Have a fantastic day!