It is the Easter and Lenten season. While being a Christian should remind us daily of the sacrifice on the cross our Savior made, it seems this time of year brings a greater emphasis.
Mark 12:30 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Not a typical Easter verse, but nonetheless perfect for the season and our lives.
This is actually a reference/quote from Deut 6:5, which traditional Jews use a part of their daily morning and evening prayers called the Shema. When you think of all your heart, soul, and mind, you may think about passion.
When someone pursues an interest or a person with intensity, we call them “passionate”. When a preacher is emotional and animated, we call them a “passionate speaker”.
But there is an earlier definition that we don’t always think of automatically: The death and suffering of Christ.
Mel Gibson brought us that profound movie “The Passion of the Christ.” At first glace we think that the reason we refer to the death of Christ as “the passion” is because Christ expressed such emotion, desire, and intensity. However, the English word “passion” has its roots in the Latin passio, which means, simply, “suffering.”
Only later in the 13th century did the word begin to be used in the way we use it today. How ironic that the true, deep, original meaning of the word passion is rooted in the concept of SUFFERING.
The world tells us that love and desire and passion should feel good, feel happy, feel like sunshine all the time! But when you are passionate about something, the truth of the matter is you will push past barriers and pains and inconveniences to achieve what you want.
Who comes to mind when you think about someone who is passionate??
Perhaps you think of athletes who spend hours of training and preparation to hone their skills. Perhaps you think of musicians who practice to perfect their craft. Perhaps you think of a local teacher who spends their own money and time to ensure their students excel.
But how many of you thought about a Christian you know?
Shouldn’t we as Christians be the example of a people who are passionate? Are you passionate about telling others about Christ like you were when you first experienced His grace?
Or does the suffering we may face keep you from being as passionate as you once were?
Walking with the Lord is not always easy. Sometimes we suffer for the cause of Christ. We are ridiculed or ostracized.
Take time to ponder your passion this Easter season by considering the following verses:
Philippians 1:29 For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him.
1 Peter 4:13-14…as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah rejoice, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory. If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
With all our hearts, mind, and souls, let us be PASSIONATE followers of Christ!
Angel Boll serves with her husband, Bishop Rich Boll, as pastors of the Wilmington Church of God.
This weekly column is provided to the News Journal on a monthly rotation basis by members of the Wilmington Area Ministerial Association.