Adam Hince

The musings of Syndal Baptist Church's Gen Y and Beyond Pastor

Passion and Faith

Posted on | May 20, 2010 | 1 Comment

Although I’ve had some understanding of the Christian faith for most of my life, it would be fair to say that my heart was engaged a long time before my head was. I had simple trust, and asked few questions. What brought me to a point of early conviction about Jesus Christ was a feeling of His love, and a genuine desire to live life with and for Him. Later on, my head caught up a bit… and I started to question, started to find it harder to believe and even started to doubt. But I did again reach a point of conviction – this time in my mind. As a teenager – I decided that Jesus Christ was not just the option I wanted or felt compelled to follow, He was in fact the best person for me to believe in and trust (i.e. have faith in) and commit my life to.

Faith and feeling have always been mixed for me – generally I’m more of a thinker than a feeler, so the blend isn’t perfect, but its there nonetheless. This mix is true for any genuine experience of the Christian faith. The bible speaks often both the heart and wisdom. The bible quotes God saying that “He will write His law on the hearts of people” and Jesus Christ made it even more clear when He taught that the greatest thing for humans to do was to love God with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength.

In the Book of Acts, Chapter two – a big group of people listen to a long but powerful explanation about the character, work and invitation of Jesus Christ for all people. At the end of that explanation, the inward response of those listening is described in a few simple words “they were cut to the heart“. This was almost a scientific or forensic statement – like a knife had literally dissected their core! It was a way of expressing deep conviction, deep desire and deep understanding. These people heard the story of Jesus, heard about who He was and what He did and what it meant… and they got it deep down in their hearts. An amazing story! For me – this is a feeling I will call “passion” … and its often the feeling I most crave in response to Jesus Christ. Acts of worship, service, daily routines of devotion and choices to commit to Jesus way of living all are made easy by a strong sense of passion! But I find myself often living with less of that than I would love to have.

In the story… What follows this description is an instruction – repent and be baptised. These were HUGE things to ask! To repent meant to abandon thoughts, actions and patterns of living that had been normal and desired. It starts with a feeling of remorse, becomes a desire to change, and comes to describe to taking of a new direction. This was not easy, yet because they were “cut to the heart” even this big ask was embraced by 3000 people. To be baptised was also specific and challenging. It had a physical meaning – challenging people to partake in the sacrament of baptism (the act of a person being immersed in water as a profession of their faith in Jesus Christ and commitment to live with and for Him). It had a simpler meaning too – but one that was much more than just a “once off” act. The word “baptise” comes from a simple Greek word meaning to “immerse”. Like you would do with a dish you were washing or what you do with yourself when you dive into a pool. This simpler meaning was connected to repentance – in that as one turned away from a certain way of living – they embraced a new one! And that “embrace” was a natural outworking of a person immersing themselves in the one who is inviting, challenging and enabling them to change.

Passion does things to people. Its motivating and makes even the difficult things of life, life giving. I heard recently that “I am responsible for my own passion” … and I felt like I agreed with that, but was annoyed by it. Most of my experiences have been, and most of the stories I hear about others experiences tell me that passion is something built from the outside! Yet it would seem that I have a role to play in generating it, fueling it and protecting it.

As I read this part of the book of Acts … I found myself asking myself three questions ::

1. When was the last time I was “cut to the heart” by Jesus?

    And am I sufficiently passionate enough about Him right now?

   And am I doing what is in my power to do – to generate, fuel and protect my passion for Jesus Christ.

2. What is it that I’m being invited to turn away from or abandon that I’m not willing or able to turn away from?

     What is it that makes me unwilling or unable?

3. How immersed am I in Jesus Christ? Am I just busy doing Christian things, or am I truly throwing myself into Him?

    How do I differentiate between just “doing Christian things” and immersing myself in Jesus?

You might have the same questions or more – if you do … I’d love to hear them!

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Comments

One Response to “Passion and Faith”

  1. mel
    June 15th, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

    that idea you talked about of ‘immersion’ has floated around my brain since you preached about it…how am I immersing myself in the everyday stuff? I struggle with daily devotions but have wondered in what other ways I could ‘immerse’ myself in simple daily ways…

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