About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

When Passion Dies


She was older than I was.  I was just 21 years old.  She had been married for 8 or 9 years.  Why was she confiding in me?  I wasn't married.  I didn't understand the finer aspects of married life.  I had no idea why her marriage had become void of the passion it once had.


Passion is a strong emotion that motivates us to do certain things.  If we're honest we'll admit that over time passion tends to fade and often dies.  It's called the Law of Entropy.  All things decay and drift towards death unless carefully maintained with tender loving care. 


Decay and death entered humanity just as God said it would the moment Adam sunk his teeth into a slice of forbidden fruit.  In one split second every cell, every atom, every molecule, of every created being or thing began to suffer decay that would lead to death.  We have absolutely no idea of the sudden drastic change that plunged creation into a history altering world of decay and death.     


Whether it's our marriages, our relationships with Jesus, or anything in life; it's all subject to decay and death.  Some say their passion in marriage hasn't died.  It has matured into real love.  That may be true with some but more often than not I think passion either dissipates into a state of mediocre luke-warmness and indifference or it shifts its attention elsewhere.          


When we first met Jesus most of us were overwhelmed with heartfelt passion for Him, but as time goes on, passion tends to fade, die, or drift elsewhere.  Some may say their passion for Jesus has matured into real love.  Once again, more often than not our actions show that passion drifts into a mediocre luke-warm indifference or shifts its attention elsewhere.       


Jesus speaks to the issue of lost passion in Revelation 2:1 to 7.  He counsels the community of believers in Ephesus by first listing some of their good qualities.  "I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance: you have persevered hardship and have not grown weary (verses 2 and 3 NIV)."  That sounds like their passion matured into real love.  They worked hard at being faithful, but it's apparent from what Jesus says next that there's more to faithfulness than working hard at being faithful. 


In verse 4 Jesus says, "I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love."  I equate first love with these believers heartfelt passion that was ignited when they first met Jesus.  They might have thought their passion had matured into real love, but Jesus begged to differ. 


To re-ignite lost passion Jesus gives the following advice, advice that marriage counsellors often give couples struggling with fading passion.  "Remember the height from which you have fallen.  Repent and do the things you did at first (verse 5)."  In the Greek text the word "remember" is a present imperative verb.  This means that these people were to immediately stop what they were doing, sit down, and recall the passion they once had for Jesus.  The Greek verbs translated into English as "repent" and "do" are aorist indicative verbs.  This means that in no uncertain terms these believers were to admit to their mediocrity.  They were to abandon their state of indifference.  They were to do the things they did when their lives were motivated by heart felt passion for Jesus.    


Think of passion in terms of a young couple in love.  I realize that their passion is just as much a matter of hormones as it is a matter of love.  I realize that passion is more than a matter of sexuality.  I realize that passion is expressed differently by different people.  I also realize that hormones don't necessarily decide to explode on their own.  They're aroused by what we see, what we touch, and what we do.  So, when passion fades marriage counsellors often suggest that the couple remember what life was like when their passions for each other were all-consuming.  In the hope of re-igniting lost passion the couple is advised to do the things that aroused passion when they first met.  I think that's what Jesus had in mind when He advised the Ephesian believers to do the things they once did.  His desire was to have their spiritual hormones stimulated sufficiently enough that passion would be re-ignited.   


Jesus doesn't end here.  He warns these believers that if things don't change He will remove their lampstand (verse 5).  Revelation 1:20 tells us that the lampstand is the church.  The words "I will remove" is a future indicative verb in Greek.  This means that if things didn't soon change, they'd certainly cease to be a church.  They may still exist organizationally.  They may retain the outward shell of church, but without the inner spark of the Holy Spirit, they'd be an empty hollow shell.  That's a sad ending to a group once possessed with passion, but this is the reality throughout much of what we call church. 


Jesus was also upset with the Laodicean community of believers.  In Revelation 3:15 He scolded them for being luke-warm in relation to Him.  Their passion had been redirected to a self sufficient materialistic world.  Therefore, in a demonstration of His own passion, Jesus was ready to vomit them out of His mouth. 


Allowing passion for Jesus to fade, shift its attention elsewhere, or die, is a serious matter.  You might want to ask what arouses your passions.  What excites you?  What motivates you?  Where do your affections lie?  What consumes your thoughts?  If you're like the Ephesian believers you should remember the height from which you have fallen, repent, and do the things you did when you were passionate for Jesus.



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