Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~Hebrews 12:1-2, NASB
What drove the biblical characters?
Consider a man, advanced in years, but comfortable in his life-long home. Why would he pack up all that he owned, set his wife on a camel, and begin wandering without a backward glance? Past a midlife crisis, I doubt he was looking for adventure. What drove him into the unknown?
If we asked him, “Abram, where are you going?”
He’d respond, “To the place God will show me.”
Push him further. “Why?”
He’d level us a steady look. “Because He said go.”
Huh. What is that?
How about young David—a shepherd by trade, and the youngest, scrawniest of his large family of boys. Why would he square up to a killer, a man over nine-feet tall and a warrior of renown? Was the kid flat-out crazy? Maybe—he only took a sling and few stones from the creek.
“David, what are you doing. That guy could eat you in three quick gulps.”
“He insulted my God.”
“But there are bigger guys around you. Real men, in armor. Let them take care of it.”
“But they aren’t. Don’t worry, though. God’s got it handled.”
Why would anyone do that?
Or what about an innocent man—sinless in all His ways. Why would He submit to the cruelty of crucifixion?
“You are blameless, Jesus, why won’t you tell them so? Why have you let them torture you?”
“Because you need me to.”
What is this pursuit—these lives bursting with zeal? Where does passion like this come from, and how can I get it?
Imagine yourself the heroine of an adventure movie, one who is grave peril, one whose life is about to be snuffed out. And then imagine the hero on the white stallion sweeping in and taking the death-blow for you, saving your life. His dying words to you, as you cradle his head in your lap, are: “I love you—you’re worth dying for. Live for me.”
Would you not do it? Would you not make your hero’s passions your own? Would you not devote your life to the causes he held dear? This is indeed the relationship between you and Jesus. He died in your place. He commissions you to live for Him.
May that reality fuel my passions. May I be like Abram, pack up all my belongings and move whenever God says to do it, not holding a house or a country or a school district more precious than my Savior. May I be like David, boldly confronting those who make a mockery of my God, willing to pay any cost for defending His name. May I be like Jesus Himself, taking up my cross daily to deny my selfishness and put others first in the mundane affairs of life as well as the dramatic ones.
Father, create that kind of passion in me. Let me not be entangled by the sin and worries that so often trip me up. Keep me focused on what is truly important. It’s a God sized task, taming this wayward heart of mine. I am often more complacent than passionate. Father, create in me a new heart, one that is truly sold-out for You.