Without passion for dying we lack passion for living.
The passion of the Christ is for dying, being poured out like wine, broken like bread, a burning desire to finish His assignment, an assignment that costs Him everything in order to gain everything. He is pushed to the limit, and His passion for what Father’s wants considers no alternatives.
Passion for dying escapes most modern American Christians. Because they have deep passion for what they want, they seldom value anything enough to die for it. Because they are motivated by their own passion, they are under the dominion of what they want.
To be dominated by God, we have burning desire for what He wants; we must burn with His passion, not our own. We must have enough passion for God to be consumed by the passion of God!
I was criticized recently for an emphasis upon the Cross in FreedomMinistry International. Someone made the statement that the resurrection of Christ cancels out the cross of Christ; “so we don’t need the cross in our lives.” I have walked through religious surface slush before, but I still have a moment of wonder when people simply ignore Scripture because they have some religious idea stuck in their heads.
However, I deeply appreciate my critics because they are some of my best friends! Everything we say and do should be able to stand scrutiny.
Jesus is not on the Cross anymore! Hallelujah! The Cross of Christ is empty of His Body, but it is not empty of His power!
The Cross of Christ is the cross of the Christian. Paul says, I do not preach human wisdom so the Cross will not be limited in its power. He says, The power of the Cross is the power of God. The power of the Cross sets us up for the life of the Resurrection! Paul says this after the Resurrection.
There can be no living in resurrection life without dying in Calvary death. We cannot walk in new life without the death of the old life. We cannot live in resurrection life without the death of the corruptible. We cannot live the Christ in us, hope of Glory, without death to the self in us and the hope of our own glory.
Demanding sacrificial death does not diminish resurreciton life. Rather, sacrifice releases life. Jesus says, “Except a seed die…” The Cross and the Resurrection are not polar opposites. Because of the resurrection, death can no longer make a claim against those who have new life. Without death we cannot enter the transformation process.
“But Jesus did it all so we don’t have to do it.” This line of reasoning appeals to modern Christianity because it appears to bypass the less gratifying experiences of transformation. It assumes that Jesus did something so I don’t have to do anything. It mixes the free gift of salvation with the disruptive nature of redemption. Jesus did die for your sins, and He offers you the purchased results for free. Immediately that new life enters you, however, you are about to experience radical life change that will challenge everything claim of self, hell, and the world! Redemption is free but it costs you everything!
Romans 12: “By God’s mercies, present…” Next verse, “Be transformed…to prove what God wants.” There is a direct connection between the passion for complete sacrifice and the passion for completing destiny: we cannot be what we were created to be without transformation, and we cannot be transformed without the sacrificial death.
The Cross of Jesus is all about the Resurrection of Jesus. To get to resurrection power, we must experience crucifixion power! God isn’t using the Cross for a deceptive coverup! The power of the Cross releases destruction to the enemies of Jesus Christ functioning within your life.
Death and Destiny
I agree wholeheartedly with the modern push for the realization of personal destiny and fulfillment of personal purpose. I disagree wholeheartedly with the notion that we can realize our created destiny and fulfill our assigned purpose by any other means than through a strong identification with the Cross! The pathway to the resurrection life runs through the Cross! To live in resurrection power we must first be dead. We don’t need a resurrection until we are dead. Receiving new life is quick and simple; living new life requires radical overhaul and complete restoration.
All self-realization outside Christ-realization is deception: we are trying to become someone other than the person we were created to be. Romans 12 makes this so clear that it would be intellectually dishonest for us to think otherwise! We do not know who we are until God tells us who we are; we cannot begin to pursue what God wants – the will of God – until we have become living sacrifices. We cannot experience metamorphasis, transformed by the renewing of our minds until the identity we have crafted or has been crafted for us by our environment is shattered. We can then be properly reassembled by Holy Spirit.
The Passion of the Christian
Modern Christianity is plagued by personal passion. Personal passion predicts purpose by means of potential. Potential is never the measure of destiny or purpose; potential is vast, nearly limitless possibility. It is the ore from which God forges destiny, not the cafeteria from which I pick and choose what feels good to me or others.
Pursuing potential leads to entitlement thinking. It feeds the deceptions of pride. It assumes the mirror of the mind reveals the essentials of destiny. It smells of flesh. It assumes because I possess potential that I should receive power. It says, “God needs to do a better job of being God and empower my potential because my potential entitles me to power.” Sounds like lucifer’s entitlement claim to be God!
God is not investing grace in your potential. He is redeeming created destiny from your potential, separating it out, defining it from, and breaking its power.
We must present personal passion on the altar of God. God’s altar does not burn with human passion; the only fire available on God’s altar is God’s fire! Our God is a consuming fire! His fire will consume what we offer Him, not preserve it.
The passion of the Christian must be the passion of the Christ. And, now I wish to blow your modern religious mind: the passion of the Christ was not His personal passion! The passion of the Christ was the passion of the Father.
Jesus lived a life consumed with Someone else’s passion, not His own! He lived and died consumed by “what the Father wants” then arose from the dead by “what the Father wants” power. In order to face death and live again, Jesus Christ burned with the desire of His Father’s heart, not the desire of His own heart.
First, Jesus accepted responsibility to create what the Father wants. [See Revelation 4:11.] At the same time, Jesus accepted responsibility to redeem what the Father wants. [See 1 Peter 1:18-20.] Having done all that needed to be done to redeem what Father wanted created, Jesus accepted responsibility to restore what the Father wants. [See Acts 3:21.]
Jesus did all this because He was motivated by the passion of the Father. Jesus only spoke what He heard the Father say, only did what He saw the Father do, and only lived for what the Father wanted.
The passion of the Christian must be the passion of the Father, a burning, consuming desire for His purposes. Once the Father’s passion begins to burn in your heart, it will seek out and consume every other passions. In order to maintain your own passion, you must quench the fire of Father’s passion. That is why the spirit of the world is the enemy of the Father: it has its own demanding desires.
For many modern Christians, salvation is an add-on feature designed to energize their lives toward a fuller realization of their own goals. Jesus is the gravy on their mashed potatoes. Redemption is after-market gadgetry for personal potential. They are passionate for their own purposes and hope God can get some good out of the deal as well. In this way, they seek to use God to get what they want. They bring God what they want Him to have. They offer God their best.
God doesn’t want your best. He wants everything and He won’t stop until He gets it! Give Him an inch and He will take it all. Give Him your passion and He will burn it up. The fuel of flesh will run out in an instance. His purifying fire will consume the very things you thought would impress Him.
God’s fire is a line of fire that separates. God’s fire is a ring of fire that surrounds. God’s fire is a consuming fire that leaves nothing but His fire. This is the passion of the Christian!