Random Blog Clay Feet: September 20, 2008
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Faith and Passion

I woke up early this morning with more thoughts about what was in my imagination yesterday about this issue of passion and electricity. As I pondered it more and listened to God's Spirit for what He had to say about it, I remembered my study of Jesus' answer to His disciple's request to increase their faith. It was one of the most surprising and enlightening studies that I have done and I continue to see more and more meaning in that passage found in Luke 17.

What came to me this morning with considerable force was the thought that it was the spirit of service and passionate devotion as portrayed in this story that was the secret enjoyed by the servants who had increased levels of faith. The distinctive attribute about their attitude was their unique devotion and selfless spirit in the service of their master.

Then I also remembered a quotation that was often quoted by the people and culture around which I grew up.

Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service and honor of God supreme will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet. {DA 330}

Just like the servants in Jesus' story, people in His service serve Him first, not themselves. That is one of the main points that I realized when I first saw the true significance of the story that Jesus told. This story was not so much a formula to follow for getting more faith but was an illustration of the kind of relationship that people will be in who have ever-increasing faith.

But one of the questions that came up immediately in my mind was, how do we serve Him? In my mind, that is sort of like wondering how you are supposed to come up with a Christmas present for someone who already has everything they could ever need or want. If my duty and my desire is to serve my Master, my Father in heaven first before I attend to my own needs and desires, what does that really look like in practical application here and now?

The answer came to me again in the words of Jesus. The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' (Matthew 25:40)

What I am learning from this passage in Luke 17:1-10 is that these servants are living in right relationship to God emotionally. They have actually become conductors of the power of His passion in the right direction. And the direction of passion is always extremely important. As I touched on yesterday, I am beginning to see more clearly that passion is the fuel that is needed for motivation. It is not bad in and of itself. The problem is the way and direction in which it is channeled.

To suppress or try to eliminate passion is to rob the soul of the energy it needs to thrive. Those robbed of passion live a stunted, dwarfed existence. Likewise, those who do allow outlet for passion but refuse to accept the healthy boundaries provided by God to properly channel their passion become drunk with the wine of fornication as seen in Revelation 17:2. This kind of passion is rooted in selfishness and will use and abuse others for its own pleasure at their expense.

True, God-like passion is not suppressed or perverted and does not exploit others for its own benefit. Real Godly passion is the spirit of blessing and uplifting others at any cost to one's self. That is what Jesus came to demonstrate first hand.

Jesus' life was a demonstration of the attitude and relationship described in the story of the devoted servants who had increased faith like the disciples wanted. When a person is in that state of mind and has that kind of orientation with the Master, they reflect the selfless passion of the Master in their determination to make sure His needs are met ahead of their own. But they do not do it merely from a sense of duty. If that were the case it would be impossible for them to enjoy the passionate kind of faith that is needed to thrive and live joyfully in the service of the King. They do it spontaneously from a passion that fires their heart to serve compulsively.

What is even more important is that they can easily confess that they are not the source of real worth, that their relationship with the Master is really one of reflective service. If they were not oriented to the Master with this kind of attitude it would be impossible for them to serve Him properly and selflessly. It is their state of mind that is the crucial point of this whole story, not so much the outward manifestations seen in their activities.

To think and function in any other way in the Master's service would actually be to live with a spirit of competition with the Master. To feel that the Master owes them something would be to subtly think of themselves as a master in some respect and God as their servant. Unfortunately that is the attitude of most Christians even though we don't realize it. But just take a look at many of the prayers that we pray asking God to serve us in some way. Where is the joyful eagerness to serve and bless our Master before we expect to be fed.

While it is true that Jesus came to reveal the servant spirit of God to us and relay to us that God has the same attitude toward us as the Son, it does not necessarily follow that we should assume that being served by God implies that we are somehow deserving of that service. To do so is to unconsciously invert our relationship which reverses the flow of passion. This is the trick of the enemy, to reverse the flow of current which always produces tension, unrest and ultimately resistance heat and finally death.

This story reveals that keeping the direction of the current always in the right orientation is one of the most important things we can ever learn if we ever hope to participate in the kingdom of God. It is more clear to me now that we need the current of passion to grow and thrive. Passion is not bad, it just needs to flow in the right direction.

So we need both the passion and the proper orientation to the true source of all passion in order to thrive as Christians. Getting those two things straight will result in producing the attitudes revealed in the lives of these servants and revealed in the attitude of Jesus while here on earth. That is the example that Jesus came to give that we are to follow. It is not the perfect outward symptoms of His life that we are to attempt to copy, it is His spirit of total abandonment to the will of His Father and the channeling of the Father's passion in selfless service to others and to God that is to be the prime object of our attention and imitation. That is the same spirit and motivation that is seen in the attitudes of the servants in the story that Jesus told in Luke 17.

Orientation of our relationship is everything.