Colossians 3:1-4, 23
Heartily- From the heart; completely or fully. To agree with something means you endorse it; to agree HEARTILY means you put your full stamp of approval on something. Verse 2 says to set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Affection: What you care about, so let’s put the two together: if we are supposed to set our affection on heavenly things, and if everything we do we are supposed to do from the heart to God, then that means that our affection should be to serve God with our WHOLE HEART, and from our Heart.
Paul is writing to the Church of Colossi, and he is basically saying “Hey Christians, you need to be concerned about heavenly things, but you also need to do it with your whole heart!” Paul is telling them to be PASSIONATE about the things of God. Passion – Burning desire; a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something. Passion is fire, zeal, ardor, devotion. Paul is a pretty good example of being filled with a passion for the things of God. He was beaten, was imprisoned, he was falsely accused, he was deserted by other Christians, he was criticized, he was run out of town. Paul was eventually killed for the cause of Christ, but through his life Paul did not lose his passion. You want to know why? Because Paul’s passion came from within. It’s important to have the passion come from within because it is passion that will last. This passion comes from the heart. It is not dependent on emotion. Let’s look at some stories from Paul’s Life and see how he kept his passion.
I. Paul’s Inner passion wasn’t affected by PEOPLE
Paul and Barnabas were preaching at Antioch, several Jewish leaders got upset and kicked him out of town. They shook off their feet and went to the next town. How were they able to do this? Verse 52 says they were filled with joy and the Holy Ghost. They had a JOY in serving Jesus regardless of who accepted them. If your passion is external, then you will get discouraged when the people you help leave you or hurt you. If your passion is external, you will get discouraged when no one listens or seems to care. You sing the song “I have decided to Follow Jesus” but the reason you follow Him must come from the passion inside you. For there will be times when you have to say “though no one join me, still I WILL FOLLOW!” Because the passion came from within, no person could halt his zeal.
II. Paul’s Inner passion wasn’t affected by CIRCUMSTANCES
-Acts 16:25 – And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God;
They weren’t at a church watch night service; they were in jail. Their circumstances weren’t the best, but their praise was. It’s easy to praise God when your life is good, but inner passion for God will help you through the tough times. I think of Job. He lost everything: Family, Wealth, Possessions. Even his own wife gave up on him. But he said in Job 1:21,”The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Because the passion came from within, no happening could discourage it.
III. Paul’s Inner Passion wasn’t affected by SURROUNDINGS
He was just as excited about praising God in Jail as he was in the church. He preached inside of buildings but he also preached in the street. Because the passion came from within, no outside influence could stop him. If the passion was external, then Paul would have praised God when it was easy but quit when it was not.
IV. Paul’s Inner Passion wasn’t affected by RESULTS
I Corinthians 3:1-7
There was a problem in the church of Corinth. People were calling themselves followers of Paul and Apollos. Paul was quick to reprimand them and say, “Whoa, hold on here. Apollos and I are just preachers. Yes I planted, Apollos watered, but GOD gives the increase.” You see Paul didn’t care about the result. His passion for God drove him to serve God and then give God the credit. It’s easy to preach when you know people will tell you good job. It’s easy to sing when you know you can sing well. It’s easy to serve when you are getting results. It’s easy to serve when you know someone will acknowledge you for it. If the only time you worship is in front of people then that is an exterior passion. If no one ever gets saved, will you still go soulwinning? Will you still read your Bible and Pray if no one ever sees? Jeremiah was a preacher who no one listened to. Jeremiah preached for years and had no results. Jeremiah got so discouraged that he said in Jeremiah 20:9 “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name…” Jeremiah said that his ministry was no good and that he would speak no more of GOD, but then he continued in that same verse. “But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” You see even though Jeremiah got discouraged, He had GOD’S WORD burning in his heart! He had to keep going! He had to press on! He was able to keep going because the fire came from within!
-Our Inner Passion comes from:
b. Bible Reading
d. The Holy Spirit
f. Daily Desire
I don’t give to get a tax deduction, I give because I have an inner passion to please God! I don’t serve for a paycheck, I serve because I have a desire to please my Father! I don’t sing because I have ability or because I seek praise, I sing because the passion inside me burns and I have to let it out! I don’t preach because I am a gifted orator, I preach because His Word is in my heart as a burning fire and it won’t stay! I don’t want to soul win out of sense of duty, I want to do it because I love the Lord! I don’t praise God just in the church house or around good people or in good times, I praise Him all the time because He is my God, He saved my soul, He made me whole, He called me to His service, He desires to bless my life, He helps in the bad times, He gives me strength, and He hears me when I pray.
James Young | Assistant Pastor
Open Door Baptist Church, Lima, OH