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Living passionately has lasting effects

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By Al Earley

We know what a will is.  A legal document that establishes how we want all our worldly possessions to be divided amongst the people we care about and the organizations we want to support in our death. 

Today I want to write about your “Living Will.”  This is what we want to pass on to those around us by the way we live our lives.  Our legacy of beliefs, morals and attitudes that we hope are communicated by the way we live our lives. 

We don’t usually think about the way we live our lives having an effect on other people’s lives, but as one who has done a hundred funerals, it does. 

Today I want to challenge us to write in our living wills to live with passion.  It is not as easy to define living with passion as one might think.  We usually connect living with passion as having to do with being a fan of our favorite team, or a new love affair, or an exciting hobby.   

These passions will do little more than provide a diversion from the real meat of life where we encounter difficulties that can beat the passion out of us.  When we start looking for the passion in life itself, our everyday experiences, we find life is hard.  Since life is hard it is hard to live passionately.

I define living passionately as living life full of emotional and spiritual energy, living passionately with such a positive intensity that we leave it behind as a legacy for others.  I hope my “Living Will” for those around me is an example of what it looks like to live life with passion. 

This is not done as a sports fan, in romantic love or through hobbies.  This is done while living life which is hard, as a shining example for others that even though life is hard and life’s struggles can beat the passion out of you, it can be done!

In the book of Hebrews we find the key ingredient to living passionately, an incredible faith against all worldly odds.  We read, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).  Then it goes on tell how Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua and the prostitute Rahab all lived by faith. 

Wait, this is not a perfect group of faithful people.  Rahab the prostitute is commended for her faith?  Yet the Bible says she embodied the very meaning of faith. 

These people are flawed just like you and me. Yet God used them to accomplish His will, much of which happened after their lives were over, but they had faith that if they lived their lives connected to God, in spite of their flaws, sins and fears, God could use their lives to accomplish His purpose. 

I believe that is what it means to live with passion.  No matter how hard life gets you do everything you can to stay connected to God. 

For example, Abraham was no pillar of faithfulness in obeying God.  God told him He would protect him, but at every turn Abraham lied to protect his own skin.  But he always stayed connected to God.  From the day he left Ur to the day of his death, flawed and afraid, he always came back to God. They all did.   

Hebrews 11:13, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.”

Next week I will look at how we stay connected to God through the struggles in life.  This week ask yourself: when are you most passionate?  Are you passionate about anything? 

Do you allow diversions to direct your passion away from what is important? 

How do you allow God’s power into your life to direct your passions toward those things that truly matter? 

Do people see your life and receive a model of what a Godly passionate life looks like?  

 

 

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.