“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lamp stands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place. Revelation 2
Passion seemed to be the topic of my weekend. I watched a lot of baseball and softball. I watched with passion, teams playing passionately. Then on Sunday my pastor talked about passion. It has made me consider what it takes to have passion.
I’m a passionate Florida Gator fan. That’s pretty easy to explain. I graduated from Florida Law School. My undergraduate degree was obtained from Pepperdine without ever attending class on that campus. So Florida is my only “real” college. I am a passionate Cajun fan. I went to UL, USL actually. I follow all their sports closely. I listen to local sports radio daily. So that passion is understandable.
My wife used to be a pretty passionate (okay maybe just mildly interested) UL basketball fan. She knew the family of one of the players years ago and that flamed her passion. My daughter and granddaughter were big time Ice Gator fans when hockey first hit Lafayette. At the time my daughter was a resident manager of the apartment complex where the team lived. They knew all the players. That explained their avid interest and passion.
I conclude that passion is personal. Consider the passion of romantic love. It is very personal. It’s a bit sad as life goes on and kids come and mortgages and careers, the personal relationship tends to take a back seat. Our fascination and total focus on the object of our affection wanes and passion falls.
I think that’s what the message to the church in Ephesus is all about. That church had the theology right. They worked hard. They stood against persecution. They forgot what it’s all about: Jesus. The first love of our Christian walk is Jesus. I once belonged to a great church. It was very unique. There was lots of love among the members. Everyone got to love the church so much that Jesus took a second place. Eventually their lamp stand was removed. That church no longer exists.
We are created for relationship with God. When we realize that such a relationship is possible it ignites our passion. As relationship deepens, as we learn more about Him, the passion is fired. The danger is that we get caught up in the mechanics of Christianity and church life. We start to worry more about theology than relationship. Like married life, in church life we can get caught up in business, lose focus on relationship and passion wanes.
Joy in this life doesn’t come from being a Christian. It comes from following Jesus passionately. The more we know Him, the more we walk with Him, the more our passion is fueled. If you passion isn’t what it should be, stop what you’re doing. Get yourself alone with Him and rediscover how He’s all you need. Persecution and hardship, but also passion and joy will follow. It’s all worth it.