Heart on Fire

I have many passions in my life, but one Passion overrides them all.

I'm passionate about chocolate. The chocolatier the better. There is something deeply satisfying about rich chocolate sauce over ice cream or a creamy piece of Dove dark chocolate!

I'm passionate about my family. No one holds the unique and special place in my heart that Shirley and our son and daughter and their spouses hold. Except for knowing Jesus, the deepest joys of my life are the joys of being with my family.

I'm passionate about the Cubs. And the Bears and the Colts (teams 1 and 1a for me, since I was a Bears fan before the Colts moved to Indy). I'm not so passionate that I am willing to spend two or three hundred dollars to go see a game in person, but I'm a fan, nevertheless.

The passion that overrides all my other passions, though, is my passion for Jesus Christ. I want to know Him in an ever-deeper relationship. I want to serve Him in the ministry He has called me to. I want to love Him well by practicing holiness of heart and life as I grow to become more and more like Him. I want others to discover the joy and fulfillment of a relationship with the Living God through His Son, Jesus.

You probably have other passions. The four I've named certainly are not an exhaustive list of mine. Perhaps you have a passion for the outdoors - for camping and hunting and fishing. Perhaps you have a passion for making things with your hands. Maybe your passion is music and dancing.

The thing is, God made you in His image with passions for beauty and love and creativity and serving and family. Psalm 37:4 says this: "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (NIV)

The desires of my heart. The passions He had in mind when He created me. As we delight in the Lord, He delights in blessing us with our heart's desires.

I don't want God to give me some of the desires of my heart, because my heart is fallen and base and those desires are not worthy of a life that honors God. Our fallen hearts are a mixture of passions: lust as well as love, fear as well as trust, selfishness as well as compassion, greed as well as generosity.

So I find that the "Take delight in the Lord" part of Psalm 37:4 is the key to God's freedom and willingness to "give you the desires of your heart." The more passionately I pursue Jesus and His love and holiness in my life, the more my heart's desires (my passions) align with His. And there is no barrier to God's granting the desires of our hearts when our heart's desires are His desires! A heart on fire with love for Jesus is a heart that pleases God and opens the door for His purposes to be worked out in our lives.

Pretty much any passion of our hearts can be part of living a life of significance for Jesus Christ. Our passions can be shared with others, and that makes relationships. And relationships are the bridge over which Jesus passes from one life to another.

A passion for chocolate can result in joining a chocolate taster's club. Or founding one! And the relationships with other chocolate lovers become opportunities to love and encourage and enjoy and pray for them.

Same with our passions for sports or music or family or the outdoors. Relationships offer the opportunity to make Jesus and His love real to others. When our heart's desires are submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, they become significant strengths in the purposeful life for which we are made.

So it seems to me a pleasing prayer to God is the prayer to set my heart on fire with passion for the things God loves. Then I can engage those passions and God has promised to give me the desires of my consecrated heart!

Now, where did I put that piece of chocolate I was craving?

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