As i sit here at Starbucks this morning i find myself thinking a lot about living our lives with passion. Last night i watched an old sermon from Francis Chan (who pastors at Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley) titled “Lukewarm & Loving it” from 10/1/06. Chan preaches a very bold sermon on how extremely difficult it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven. He bases this sermon off of two main text, The story of the rich man approaching Jesus asking how he can enter the kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 19:16-26 & the letter to the church in Laodicea in Revelations 3:15-22.
Fran boldly states the obvious, that compared with other countries in the world Americans are extremely wealthy and this in turn makes it difficult for us to enter the kingdom of Heaven. We often find contentment and security in our possessions rather than in God and his provisions. When we have enough money for our lives, retirement, and even for our kids lives it makes it difficult to “need” God. We are often happy having some of God in our lives, but we don’t feel as though we want too much because potentially that could mess up our plans or our comfortable life. Chan goes on to preach about how we, in the American church, live our lives lukewarm too often rather than on fire for God. In Revelations Jesus says that if we are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, He will spit us out of his mouth.
Fran pushes his congregation that once we know about the greatness of God we should be willing to give ANYTHING to follow Him and be near to Him. It shouldn’t matter if we have to sell everything, move, or even lose our family, it doesn’t matter anymore. All that should matter is living our life on fire for God. Now this doesn’t mean that we don’t care for our family or care about what is going on in our surroundings, because if we live our life passionately for Christ He calls us to care for our family. However, Chan is making the point that all these things are earthly possessions and relationships and don’t compare to our relationship with God.
I believe that Chan’s sermon is very challenging and right on the mark. The part i am wrestling with is when we find ourselves living a lukewarm life how do we transition out of this place of comfort. How do we take a relationship with God that has been there, but perhaps a little dull at times, and transition to a relationship of deep passion. What has struck me lately is the fact that I can’t do this. I can not bring about passion for a relationship alone, nor can i rid myself of my desires for comfort or material passions all by my self. In order for us to embark on this transition we desperately need God and His Spirit to intercede on our behalf. This kind of transition will intentionally seeking God out on a daily basis through prayer and time in His word. It will also take a lot of patience and trust as we wait for God to do the real work in our spirit and hearts. God can and will bring about this passion if we desire it and ask for it, the hard part can be waiting for Him to bring it about. I will continue to seek God and ask for this fire for Him, because He means to much to me to sit by and live a lukewarm life. What will you do?