Published May 19, 2015

Paul's Epistle
("Passion Checkup - Part 1")

Each year when Holy Week rolls around, we hear the term "passion" in a unique context. Holy Week – the week from Palm Sunday until Easter – is sometimes referred to as "the passion of Christ." The term originated with the Latin word "passio," which means "suffering." And that was, indeed, a week of suffering for the Lord – as is clear from the Biblical accounts.

That got me thinking, though, about that term, because that's not the way we usually use the word "passion." In a much broader context, the term is used today to denote anything for which we have a great deal of enthusiasm. A high school guidance counselor, trying to help a student with career choices, might ask, "What's your passion? What kind of work would you really enjoy doing?" Someone might say, "I have a passion for great art." Or music. Or sports.

So, what's your "passion?"

Do you have a "passion" for Christ?  I 'm afraid a lack of passion for Christ is a major problem for the church today. Many Christians have lost their passion, if they ever had it. It's evident by how many Christians, how many churches, how many denominations are getting away from Christ and His principles. They are, instead, elevating man's desires above those of Christ.

So, how's your passion for Christ, His church and His work?

I hear commercials on local radio about auto repair shops that promise a "21-point checkup" to evaluate the condition of your car. So let's begin a eight-point "passion checkup" to evaluate your level of passion for Christ. As we go through this, consider how it applies to you, personally.

Checkup point #1:  Do you know the Lord?

Have you accepted Him as your Savior? Have you asked Him to forgive your sins? Have you asked Him to become the Lord of your life? Have you turned your life over to Him? Without that as a starting point, nothing else matters. If you haven't – or if you're not sure – today would be an excellent day to settle that supremely important matter. If that is, indeed, settled, then we can move on to the next checkup point...

Checkup point #2:  How well do you know Christ?

Notice the question is not, "Do you know Who Christ is?" Even the demons could answer that correctly (James 2:19). The question is, "How well do you know Christ?" A Christian is a follower of Christ – someone who tries to live like Christ, doing the kinds of things Jesus did. But we need to know more about Christ to be able to do that.

The Christian life is all about growth. In Ephesians 4:15, Paul tells us we need constantly to "grow up in all things into Him who is ... Christ." And 1st Peter 2:2 tells us to "desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby..."

Medical science tells us our bodies are constantly growing – not taller, but growing new cells. Our "spiritual selves" need to grow, too. We need to know the Lord better so that we might be more like Him.

There's an old hymn that puts it this way:

     More like the Master I would live and grow;
     More of His love to others I would show;
     More self-denial, like His in Galilee,
     More like the Master I long to ever be.

Is that your desire, to be more like Christ? As a Christian, it should be. 2nd Peter 3:18 tells us to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..." Our spiritual growth in the knowledge of Christ never ends! But that growth in the knowledge of Christ isn't automatic. We must work at it. And we must rely on the Holy Spirit as our "tutor" to help guide us into all truth.

So how do we do that?  That'll be our next "checkup point" – when we continue our checkup next week.

- Paul

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