Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fruit and Passion

This is not a post about a store (sorry ladies!). It's about faith.

How do you know if a Christian is close to God? I was asking someone this the other day and they told me they thought it was excitement. Passion, in other words. I have heard this answer many times. "Wow, that guy is really pumped for God!" or "Wow, that girl is really on fire!" The more excitement shown the more spiritual the person. And if you don't have passion, look out. Something is definitely wrong! For many of us passion = spirituality.

We all desire to have passion in our relationship with God (I know I do). But I wonder, what if we changed the question a little and said this: How do you know if a Christian has become "mature," "fully grown," etc? I don't think the answer would be passion. The way I read the Bible the answer would be fruit and obedience:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." - Galatians 5: 23-34

In my mind fruit is much more important then passion. Passion (or zeal) by itself is not good (Rom 10:2). Now I'm not saying it's a bad thing. In fact in Romans 12:11 we told to "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." You can be zealous without being obedient. And you can definitely be zealous (or passionate) without having fruit.

Fruitless passion . . . sucks. We have all seen and experienced it. Zeal without love does so much damage. Passion without joy is downright scary sometimes. Being on fire but not having self-control eventually leads a person to very bad places. I find myself quick to judge my fellow Christ followers sometimes and I need to be careful of that. So many of the external things I treasure (like passion) become super important and the most important things (fruit and obedience) are minimized and ignored. Imagine if we hired and followed our leaders, not based on their passion but on the spiritual fruit that their lives displayed? Fruit doesn't lie and you can't fake it (at least for any length of time). Look for the fruit in yourself and others. This is what I'm learning right now.

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