Today, I did something that I haven’t done in a long time. It’s one of those things that was a passion of mine for so many years…ok decades upon decades. It’s one of those things I struggled with and loved all at the same time. And for a while, I even allowed it to determine my identity instead of Christ. Having resolved that last issue, getting the opportunity to return to it today filled me with memories, lifted my heart, and added a sense of excitement to my step. It reminded me how God uses our desires for His greater purposes.
Why would you do that?
When we do something we are passionate about, it exhilarates us and keeps us going when other people wonder why we would ever continue. I remember people asking:
- Why I spent so much time doing that?
- Wouldn’t I prefer not to sacrifice so much time and energy, so I could do other things?
- Were there ever moments that I wished I could have done x, y, or z?
When it was obvious that it physically hurt and caused pain, people asked:
- Why would I consider going back and continuing to do the same thing?
Don’t we ask these same questions of those who live passionately for God and give up their comforts and even their lives?
Of course, I had those thoughts too, but what I was doing brought me so much joy and challenged me so much, I wanted to do it more than the other things. I knew if I started to let my focus slip that I wouldn’t be able to reach my goals in that area.
More importantly, I knew my passion was a gift from God and I just wouldn’t feel complete without doing it.
When God uses your passion for something BIGGER
God can use the desires of our hearts to spread his glory.
Because my passion caused me to work hard in certain areas of my life, God used it to bring about things I never imagined. I traveled to other countries, met people I never would have met, and had my heart broken for people in a way I never anticipated. It took me out of my comfort zone time and time again, and reminded me how God really is in control.
God showed me that when I combine my passion for him with one of the things that drives me, He will turn it into something greater than I could have ever imagined! But isn’t that how God works?
What we NEVER Imagined
Saul, also known as Paul, lived his life passionately for God! He had a desire in his heart to make sure no one would do anything against God. God used Saul’s zeal and made it more in line with God’s will along the road to Damascus. God added to Saul’s zeal the knowledge of Christ, which then took him all over the Roman world to share his passion for Christ.
Desire without knowledge is not good–how much more will hasty feet miss the way!
You see, just because we have a desire and work diligently to meet a goal, the moment we give that desire to God to use for His complete will, we have to be ready to allow God to use it however He sees fit. Sometimes, giving it up to God means He will do something amazing in the course of meeting that goal. Other times, it means he will redirect our path so that our desired goals are more in line with his.
Have you given your desires to God?
What areas of your life are you most passionate about? List them out. More than likely they have already popped to your head and a list isn’t needed. But be sure to pray over them. Are you willing to submit these desires to God and allow him to use them in whatever ways best fits His will?
Like Saul, He may very well take your desires and use them to places you never imagined!
Would you be willing to be:
- Displaced from your comfort zone?
- Ridiculed for letting God lead you?
- Imprisoned for your beliefs?
- Sacrificed for the gospel?
This is exactly what Paul/Saul allowed God to do when he decided to hand over his desires to God.
A Prayer over our Hearts
Lord, you are who we truly love. Let our faith and zeal for you grow so much that we too will be ready for you to fully take over the desires of our heart. You have gifted us with many talents. Help us honestly answer the question: Will we allow you to use them however you see fit? Or we will guard our physical circumstances above the eternal gifts you promise?
Paul’s zeal for you was never questioned, but his knowledge of how you wanted him to use that zeal was. You brought him to a new understanding of what loving you looked like. Do the same for us, Lord! Give us zeal and your complete knowledge. Give us wisdom as we read the Scriptures. Help us to fully understand how to implement them with courage and love in our everyday situations. In the One who has sacrificially loved us with such mercy and grace, we ask that you will give us the courage to passionately share it with others – Amen!