How to Develop a Passion for the Things of God
Hang around passionate people.
Luke 11:1 “Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” —-the disciples saw Jesus’s passion for prayer and they were drawn to have a similar passion. A fascinating learning experience is to take all the references to prayer in the gospel of Luke (prayer, praying, prayed, etc.) and line them up across an 8.5 by 14 page. Down the left side, put the interrogatives (Who, what, when, where, why, how, and maybe, with whom). Create a grid with horizontal and vertical lines. Now, beginning with the first reference and the looking at the context, try to answer each interrogative. Do it. See if you aren’t asking the same question the disciples did by the time you get to chapter 11.
Ask God to make you passionate.
That’s what the disciples did in Luke 11:1 and that is what the psalmist encourages us to do in Psalm 119:32. “I will run in the way of your commandments / when you enlarge my heart! Ask. Ask God to enlarge your heart, to give you more capacity to run in the ways of God.
Study and meditate on the word of God.
Look these up (Psalm 119: 7, 27, 34). God promises wonderful things when we meditate on His word. Take a month to read the book of psalms and go on a hunting expedition for all of the promises of God related to musing on, meditating upon, eating and feasting upon the word of God. I could give you all the verses but the thrill is in the hunt.
Concentrate on the glories of heaven.
Hebrews 12:1-3. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Thinking hard about passages like this will keep you from losing heart.
Develop a taste for godliness.
Loving God is not automatic to our spirits. Because of sin, love for God is an acquired taste. Oh, but taste and see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34:8). Psalm 119:103 and Psalm 19:11 are two passages that speak of the sweetness of the word of God.
“This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book.” i don’t know where I first heard that aphorism but it stuck and my wife and I tried to pass it on to our children. Psalm 119:101. “I hold back my feet from every evil way / in order to keep your word.”
Grieve over sin.
Psalm 119:136. “My eyes shed streams of tears / because people do not keep your word.” Ask yourself, “Have I ever shed tears because other people rejected God’s word and were content to live in sin?” Isn’t that something to grieve over? Ask God for the perspective of the psalmist in this verse.
Remember the acts of God.
Luke 17:32. “Remember Lot’s wife.” Remember, these three words come from the mouth of Christ. Jesus reminded his hearers that the things that God has done in the past are to be remembered. The apostle Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 10:6: “Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.” Then 5 verses later, he doubles down on his point, “Now these thing happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come” (v. 11).
Recognize the word of God as the source of life.
Psalm 119:107. “I am severely afflicted; / give me life, O LORD, according to your word!” When your recognize that you can only thrive by living by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3), your passion for the things of God will grow. No one else has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
Choose against self-interest.
Mark 8:35. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
Luke 9:23. “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
It is the paradox of faith that we gain our life when we lose it in pursuit of the will of God.
Don’t run from affliction.
Psalm 119:67. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, / but now I keep your word.”
Psalm 119:71. “It is good for me that I was afflicted, / that I might learn your statutes.”
Hebrews 12:1-3. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
Remember the body of Christ.
Be with passionate people. Read the books of passionate people. It will inspire you to live with passion yourself. The apostle Paul knew this. Read Philippians 3:19-30. Ask the question, “What is Paul doing when he mentions himself, Epaphroditus and Timothy in the way that he does? What does he want people to learn from observing their lives?” Remember the example of others. Missionary biographies have done much to inspire me to live passionately for and like Jesus. They continue to be a steady part of my yearly diet.