Posts Tagged ‘passion’

It was James & John’s zeal for the Lord that caused them to suggest calling down fire from heaven (Luke 9:54).

It was Peter’s passion for Jesus that caused him to swing the sword in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:51).

It was Saul’s fervor for the things of God that caused him to persecute the followers of Jesus (Acts 8:3).

But in each instance, these faithful men found themselves out of step with God’s will.

Indeed, there is a way that seems right to a man, but it ultimately leads to death (Prov. 14:12).

In these perilous times, boldness is not the critical issue.

We need to be praying for discernment.

We desperately need to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church (Rev. 2).

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We tend to celebrate Peter’s declaration of Jesus as the Messiah (Matt. 16:13-20) based on the idea that he was the first one to solve the mystery (or maybe to have the gumption to boldly declare such a thing).  But Jesus’ excitement wasn’t as much about the content of the revelation, as it was in where the revelation came from.  He said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”  I’d like to suggest that when He said, “upon this rock I will build my church”, He wasn’t just talking about a people who recognized Him as the Messiah, but also a people who listened for the voice of His Father.  A few passages later (Matt. 16:21-23) we see the same zealous Peter making yet another bold declaration, as Jesus explained what needed to happen to fulfill His Father’s eternal plan.  Though Peter’s pledge that, “This shall never happen to you!” was rooted in love and concern for Jesus, he received the strongest of rebukes, “Get thee behind me Satan!”  Jesus explained, “you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns”.  There is little doubt that Jesus loved Peter’s passion and boldness, but in the bluntest of terms He told him that He needed to be mindful of the forces that propelled him.  A short time later, Peter failed this test, as the Temple Guard came to seize Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Instead of watching and praying as Jesus had instructed, he grabbed for a sword.  

Without a doubt, we live in troubled times, and our passions are easily stirred.  Those of us who call ourselves by His name can easily relate to the temptation to grab a sword.  But like Peter, unless we hear the voice of our Father, Jesus may well have to undo the destruction that we bring about.

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It’s a lot easier to be passionate than it is to be compassionate.

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God certainly loves to use passionate people, but sometimes our passion can work against us. In Matthew, chapter 16, we see Peter go both ways in quick succession.  In 16:17 we see him praised for his discernment of the Messiah, but just a few short passages later (16:23) we hear the Lord say, “Get thee behind me Satan”.  I would like to suggest that the same passion fueled Peter in both instances, but the difference was the source of his information.  In the first instance the Lord said that this wasn’t revealed by flesh and blood, but by my Father.  In the second, the Lord scolded Peter for having his mind on “merely human concerns”.  We passionate followers of God must be mindful of this when our passions are stirred and we have the urge to speak.

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