Passion is highly decisive in our pursuit of something or someone. When we lose passion, we quickly lose interest and focus; ultimately we forget why we do what we do. Passion for work, relationships, family and ministry is something we should always keep burning, but the most valuable passion we have is our passion for God.
In 2 Timothy 1:6-7, Paul charges, “For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” Our passion for God is a gift that He has given to us, but like any gift it can be abused or cast aside.
If we want to keep loving God and loving others, the call to keep our passion for God burning should always be pursued. Here are six mistakes that we make that stop that pursuit and end up extinguishing our passion for God.
1. Failure To Share
Paul states that the laying on of hands is what brought the passion of God to Timothy. That’s because we are most passionate when we share God with other believers. To remain in fellowship is to remain in that passion for God as we constantly impart the radical energy and excitement to pursue God more and more.
Familiarity breeds ignorance, but Paul makes it a point in 2 Timothy 1:6 to “remind” Timothy to keep the passion. We need to be reminded of the wondrous love Christ has for us by looking to the gospel daily and being consumed by Christ’s extraordinary, not ordinary, compassion and mission for us.
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” God made a way for us to freely approach Him through Christ, and He wants us to do so with confidence. When we lose that confidence thinking we don’t have the favor of God, we give in to a subtle timidity that makes us depend on works. But what keeps us passionate is the abundant grace of God.
4. Losing Discipline
God gives us a spirit of self-discipline to maintain and grow in the spiritual disciplines He has blessed us with – Bible reading and prayer. Just as we need discipline to grow physical muscles, we need discipline to grow spiritual muscles again. When we lose that discipline, our faith loses its strength and we lose our passion.
God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit so that we may always exist in His power and passion. When we allow ourselves to become “dry” and deprived of God’s Spirit, we lose that passion. But to remain hungry for God’s presence keeps us satisfied and passionate for more of God in our life. It’s closely connected with losing discipline – falling out of the word or meeting with fellow believers, making time for our secular passions but not for daily devotionals or prayer. If you are “dry” you need to be honest about yourself and whether you’ve stopped doing some of the things you should be doing and doing too much of the things you either shouldn’t be doing or don’t need to do so much.
Paul said in Rom. 12: 11 “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord”. Slothfulness/laziness can ruin our relationship with God. Jesus had to wake up early in the morning to pray and commune with the Father. He had to constantly be about his father’s business. He never allowed himself to slack off or get carried away with the things of this world. Almost everything around us today wants to make us spiritually lazy, but we must never give in to the canal desires of our flesh. We must walk hard on constantly developing out relationship with God.