I had the chance to witness to an old friend recently. We have known each other since before my son was born and if anyone knows what my sinful life was like, this man could give you a testimony. He has been both my friend and an adversary, I was his supervisor in the military and he was my supervisor at Microsoft. He knows about my earlier failed walk with Christ and of my resent recommitment to Him.
I asked him how he was doing in his faith and he replied "Just fine, I am going to a Buddhist temple now" so that kind of stunned me for a moment. He expressed that he felt better there because he did not have to deal with the burden and guilt of sin. I leaped on that one and said "God wants me to tell you that you do not have to worry about sin. That he loves you and will accept you anyway."
My friend then challenged me a bit. He asked me how my faith was different today than from when I abandoned it long ago. I have to just praise God because this very question had been on my mind for a while and I knew then that He was preparing me for that moment. The real question I was being asked was “How do you know your faith is real”. This is a tough question to try to answer especially to someone that does not share your faith.
I looked at my friend and gave his this reply. Passion is not enough. Passion is like standing next to a fire in the forest at night. While you are there close to the flame you are warm and safe but as soon as you walk away from the fire you turn cold. Passion will not sustain faith without understanding where that passion comes from.
When I was young and first came to be a Christian I only had the passion of those around me in the church. I would go and sing songs and feel the power of the spirit but did not read my Bible. When I left home for the military I very soon found myself trying to defeat temptation with a evaporating supply of passion. When the passion ran out I found myself empty and confused. I doubted that Jesus could help me or solve the problems I was adding to my life.
Today I am not only partaking in worship but I am seeking his will by reading his word with the intent of understanding and not just memorization. I have discovered that I can take that understanding with me everywhere I go. I am also applying the teaching I have received by teaching others and being involved in ministry. This along with understanding scripture lets me carry the fire inside and that is what makes all the difference.
I reminded him that when Christ died the apostles fled and hid in fear because their passion could not be sustained. These were men that walked with Jesus and not only saw Him perform miracles but they also healed the sick and drove out demons. But when their leader was taken away they were powerless against despair. Only after Christ returned and taught them about the spirit and then filled them with it could they take the message of salvation into the world. Passion is nothing without understanding and wisdom to sustain it.
My brothers and sisters I plead with each of you to take this warning from me. Learn from my bad example of how easy it is to fall from the Cross if all you experience from your relationship with Christ is the passion that is generated from a church service. Learn God's word and learn how to apply it to your life daily. Spend time in prayer seeking his will for your life and begin to see yourself as God sees you. Fear not for He that is with us is greater than the world.