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In a devotional recorded in A Fifth Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul (© 1998), an encounter at the airport is shared by Michael Hargrave. He tells of a man who is met by his family after his flight.
He hugs and kisses each as if he has been gone a long time, but with great passion he gives his wife the longest kiss Mr. Hargrave had ever witnessed, and then stares longingly into her eyes and then mouths the words, “I love you.”
Mr. Hargrave is transfixed by the scene before him and when their embrace ends he asks how long the man’s been gone and how long have they been married. He had been gone for two days and they had been married for twelve years. He exclaims, “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after 12 years.”
The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked Mr. Hargrave straight in the eye and with a forcefulness that burned right into Mr. Hargrave’s soul and left him a different person. The man said, “Don’t hope, friend, decide!” Then he flashed his wonderful smile again, shook Mr. Hargrave’s hand and said, “God bless!”
I think the “God bless” at the end of their conversation is a key to understanding how to live life with passion. It all has to do with staying connected to God.
The way Jesus lived gives us a wonderful example of how to live life passionately through staying connected to God, His heavenly Father. At the age of 12, he reminds his frantic mother, “Didn’t you know I would be in my Father’s house?,” when they had lost Him for three days in Jerusalem (Luke 2:41-52).
Jesus loved worship of His father, taking His disciples to synagogue each Sabbath, and you can feel the passion of His anger when he cleanses His father’s house, the Temple, of the money changers (Luke 19:45-48).
His passion would intensify after he spent a night in prayer. He stayed connected always to His Father because his life was hard and many people wanted him dead.
In the Garden of Gethsemane we see the ultimate battle of faith (Matthew 26:36-46), so that on the cross he can take the sins of the world upon Himself and proclaim, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 22:34).”
In good times, in hard times and when facing death Jesus stayed close to God and lived with great passion.
The formula is simple, but it is a lot of hard work. Build a strong faith, build a strong body, build a strong marriage and build a strong family. While doing all this hard work stay close to God, and you will leave behind a legacy for others of what it looks like to live life with passion.
Is passion a word that describes the way you think you live your life?
Regarding faith, body, marriage, and family, where are you strong?
Where do you need to build more strength?
What changes do you need to make in the way you spend your time to have strength in all these areas?
What are you most passionate about in your life? If your answer is not your relationship with God, then perhaps you need to make some changes.
Al Earley is pastor of La Grange Presbyterian Church. To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see www.lagrangepres.com. The views in this column are those of the writer.