Passion!

An English word that gets used in the U.K. and in other parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and many commonwealth nations is mostly used in the U.S. with regard to sexuality. It can mean that in these nations, but it is often used differently.

It was many years ago, probably during a REZ Band tour of Australia- our first tour outside of the U.S. or Canada when I first heard the term "passion" applied to myself, our band and our music.

People would say as they have often said that I/we/our music had "such passion", and it didn't take me long to understand their meaning.

From early childhood my deepest yearning was for authenticity, genuineness, for a clear sense that something electric was happening when I heard a song, a singer, saw a band live, listened to the radio and such.

To this day I would rather hear live music and hear/see live performance far more than pristine studio recordings or video. Why? The passion. The risk-taking of a spontaneous sonic offering. The "heart-stuff"!

It's not that I dislike perfected, corrected, exacting music done in a studio, rather it is that I personally enjoy the sparks, the intensity and the immediacy of "this is HERE, REAL, NOW, AUTHENTIC". I enjoy these in most any area of life but especially in music.

Don't get me wrong, excellence in part means editing! Real-time edits don't exist in most areas of life or music. Well, one can use a pitch-transposer in a live show… but I digress.

I've always loved the sonic fireworks in live shows and though I often if not always notice the glitches, wrong notes and have my own preferences (as all do) with regard to production, my heart and brain sync to the passion.

If you don't care why should I?

And to be truthful, lack of passion puts me to sleep. It's why some leave one church and join another. If you're not passionate about Him, us, what's going on here, why should I be? I think that's a valid question.

I'm NOT saying it's all about feelings and EMOTE 101 OR DIE. Not at all. And some of this is personal of course.

I'm not like everyone and realize that all of us, even I at times want and even need quiet or very mellow, soothing music or no music at all. No worries! Understood. Accepted!

Yet ninety-nine percent of the time when people have mentioned my passion it was in a positive sense. They heard something of deep personal conviction coming out of my heart and life. And God have mercy if I ever lose that…

Do you think God is dispassionate? Do we ever see a "Whatever…" attitude in the nature in the character of God- Father, Son, Spirit anywhere in the Bible?

"Love Him with ALL your heart, mind, soul, strength [or "might"]. Hmmm. The most important COMMANDMENTS according to Jesus… the second being "Love your neighbor as yourself". This is anything but passive on God's part, and it must not be passivity among the people of God on earth.

To be clear, I'm happy with a rocking service and a staid, quiet one- but I'm not like most people, I tend to be quite open to a broad range of expressions of worship and art where many just aren't.

It is indeed my view that too many people love in mind with emotions and corresponding deeds not attached. This is a mistake.

"Benign" is an excellent word when one's doctor has discovered a tumour, but it's a horrid term when one is considering the spiritual life and/or music of a person, band or worship team.

Some of the most important moments in my life have been accompanied with great and even unexpected passion welling up inside of me. Frankly, in my own life it is God the Holy Spirit alone who produces such passion. I am not talking about trying or even thinking about it… it just happens. Often I am truly surprised when it does.

For me, these have always been encounters with the Spirit where in those moments focus is deeply rooted in the people and sense of God's heart for them.

The challenge is to think, speak, write, sing, play and feel even just a little more like God does with regard to the person, the people, the nation, the need and the struggles. There is something very passionate about all that, and it remains my challenge and my joy when the Spirit intersects with my own spirit -and the miracle is that God cares so much He even cares through me.

This reality continues to astound me to this day. I'm not all that kind, nice or selfless… and this is why I know it is the Spirit of God who authors such passion.

Just as with sexual passion, not all passion is appropriate among all people in all places at all times. One fruit of the Holy Spirit is "self control" and we must pray for that fruit to grow in us too!

I freely admit there have been plenty of times when I have produced "more heat than light", when my own skewed thinking and/or emotions have been out of control. I have surely sinned against God and others in moments like those by thought, word and deed.

But what I'm talking about here is something quite different! One way of stating it is that we are, due to His love, at times truly participating in His passion for the very people we are with at the moment. Amazing. And yes: grace.

I'm sure some who have read all this wonder "HOW? Glenn, how can I get there, what can I do to rightly love God and others with a righteous passion?"

Study God in His Word. This is so obvious but so UNdone among many Christians in our time that it pains me to even have to say it. What does HE think, feel, and does He love them regardless of their sin and rotten choices? We know He does. Do I? Do you?

Pray, -really- pray at all times for God's heart to be in you for people you interact with. Ask for His eyes, His ears and His view, ask the Lord to get your personal tastes and comforts out of His way. Listen. Really listen to their sense of need.

Watch how mature Christians interact with hurting or rude people. Choose to do likewise. Win the brother or sister- NOT the argument.

Be quick to admit your own faults. Humility often opens others up like nothing else.

Learn to be truly patient with others and yourself in this journey of life.

Apply these and in time you will notice God moving through you with a passion beyond any you could manufacture yourself.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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