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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » When Passion Fades

When Passion Fades

Looking back over my own life I think about all of the things that I was passionate about. Through the years I’ve had quite a few hobbies and interests and they were the most important thing I ever involved myself with—at the time. Then something else captured my attention and I lost interest in those things. That is the problem with passions; they fade. Sadly, we not only let simple hobbies fade in our lives but also the really important things like God, family, friends and moral values. I have noticed that churches often try to “schedule” revivals with a guest speaker. I always observe the people who come out of those churches and have concluded that their lives rarely get permanently changed. They are like me in that they talk a big talk for a while and then go back to the same living they had before. That is not what I want in my life and it shouldn’t be what you want either. What causes this phenomenon? How can we analyze this since we live inside of it? As always the scripture holds the key!

I’ve just finished reading my Bible for the year from Genesis to Revelations and I must say that when you read it entirely you have a different perspective on things. I’ll never forget what Angie told me her father said after he’d read it for the first time. He said that man continually failed all through it and that God (somehow) just kept forgiving him. I found the same thing when I read it. God called His people out to be different than the world. When they rebelled and acted just like the world He didn’t bring judgment on the entire world. He only judged His people to cause them to see what living on the other side was like. When they were humbled and repented He forgave them and brought them back to the same standing that they’d had before. They were passionate about God in their need and forgot Him in their excess.

I believe that everything we lose passion about is that way. If we have real passion for something it starts out with the knowledge of a void or space we need filling. Our first glimpse of our sinful state and of God’s mercy brings us to repentance. Later, when we are sure we are going to heaven we slack up on the desire to make Godly changes and sacrifices. Later we even tell ourselves that we really don’t have to do anything because we are saved by grace and not by our works. We remind ourselves (and others) constantly that once we are saved there is nothing that can snatch us from the Hand of God.

If it’s a relationship with a future spouse we put on our best attitude and always keep a smile on our faces. Whatever our perspective partner has going we do it too. We stop being ourselves and change into what we think they want us to be. If they are into horses we become cowboys. If they love ballroom dancing we study up on it, too. Whatever type of music they love we find buying for the first time. It becomes a sad façade that is exposed after the vows are exchanged. After the hunt the man settles in he slides back to his old nature and figures things won’t ever have to change again. He slowly realizes that he made promises that he isn’t keeping. A struggle arises and iron sharpens iron (Prov27:17). For the woman, she has been on her best behavior before the wedding. She makes sure that she is her most attractive, both in physical appearance and with her attitude. She is gentle and personable and interested in everything that the man is. There is never any PMS and she is eternally patient. If he hunts she takes up shooting. If he plays golf she does, too. In the same manner she slowly changes after the wedding and the passion fades that once existed between them. She slowly becomes the woman that she really is inside and they finally see each other for the first time since they have met.

What about passions for things we want to accomplish? This is the end of the year and already people are making resolutions that they won’t keep. Many will make promises that they will lose weight or learn to play a musical instrument. Generally, we make resolutions that we really know are things we should accomplish anyway. In other words these are things that we should do because we know they are right. And yet, a few weeks into the new year and we’ve forgotten to do them. Many people just give up making goals after a few years of this habit and that is wrong, too.

Think about what shakes us into being better people. For God’s people in the Bible it was the realization that breaking the covenant changed things. Sometimes the people were wise enough to see it before things fell apart. But at other times they had to be shown. God finally said “Enough” and backed away His protection from their lives. Their enemies overtook them and they lived in bondage until they turn back to God.

When we make a resolution to lose weight we don’t put that in the front of our minds. We always seem to think we have more time and that we will do it later. When heart disease or diabetes sets in we are sorry that we didn’t take better care of ourselves but then slowly live through it and learn how to cope with life. I constantly see articles on the internet on how to eat and live healthier but they have never shaken me (yet). Why do we wait until we fail to begin the change?

Passion is a spark that comes to all of us. Each of us at some point receives this possibility of passion in various ways. I use the term “possibility” because just like a spark the possibility of a fire is there. For those whose lives are completely saturated with the things of this world the spark doesn’t have a chance. Others who are in a dry point will find the spark gives them the new fire they searched for. But without adding fuel to keep it going none of us have the sustainability to keep it there. The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). In each of our lives we come to some point recognizing our mortality, our frailty or our deep need of something. If we are wise we don’t just accept it like the cancer patient and learn to live with it but we will live differently from now on with this revelation. We will earnestly seek every vane of cure that exists and try to be different than we were before. When shocks come like sicknesses we may recover from them but then stop the new life changes of living differently. How many lung cancer patients have you and I known that never stopped smoking cigarettes after they had a spot removed?

If we really want to keep something going we must feed it the fuel it needs. During the winter we start fires almost daily in our woodstove. Years ago I struggled with fire making. I would light a match and expect it to start a full sized log burning. Then, even after I learned proper fire making I still would have trouble with the added wood being too green or the damper set too low or some other problem would occur. There is one thing that has to be done to keep a fire going. It has to be resupplied with fuel and air. Losing the oxygen or burning up all of the wood will cause a fire to go out. We MUST maintain if we are to keep passion going. We can’t allow other things to keep us from what is important. If I become busy working in my shop and forget to add wood to my stove the fire will be out. If I plant my garden and never water and weed it my garden will die out. Consequently, if you have a passion for something and stop feeding, working or nurturing it you will certainly lose it.

So what causes us to lose our desire or focus on things? Lets look at one passage of scripture to see what causes temporary passions to fade. In the parable of the Four Soils in Matthew chapter thirteen Jesus gave an example of seed being sown in four different kinds of earth. One place grew nothing at all. One of the four places grew to be fruitful but the other two had some growth before dying away. Many people fail to listen to this parable. In verse four he said some of the seed fell by the wayside and the birds ate it. The next verse says that the seed also fell on stony ground and began to grow immediately because of the shallow ground. Notice that things that can take off quickly if there is no depth! In fact, seeds do germinate more quickly in shallow ground than they do in deep soil. When this plant grew it died because of the shallowness of the soil and the heat of the sun. The third soil was the thorny ground (v7). It also grew a plant but was quickly choked out by the outside influences. Finally, the good soil grew to make a harvest.

It is possible to have someone receive that spark of life and even show growth but stop before producing fruit! In verses eighteen through twenty-three Jesus fully explained the parable and its spiritual implications. Even with this explanation some people still won’t get it. This in itself means that they are one of the first three soil types. What I want to focus on today are verses twenty through twenty-two. Jesus explained that the people did have that passion to produce and change but had one of two problems in their lives.

Verse twenty one says that the stony ground person has no root in himself and therefore when tribulation or temptation arises (because of the Word) he is offended and gives up. Did you catch that? The person who has no personal depth is at risk of being offended easily and giving up whatever passion they had. Let’s look at your passions again. Have you ever given up on something because you believed someone made fun of you? If you had a passion to play the piano and after several practices someone laughed at you did you give up?  Many people would instead of continuing on. Note that this tribulation and persecution comes because of the Word! Simply because you chose to play the piano some people will mock you. They don’t play the piano themselves or they wouldn’t mock. Those who have learned to play know just how hard it is.

The second errors people have that cause passions to fade is listed in verse twenty-two. This type person has something that begins to grow in them but because of the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches they fail. Let’s break that down and look at each fault. First, the cares of this world can stop you from fulfilling your passions. Setting aside a time to practice the piano is mandatory in learning but the normal things we habitually do will always pop up. People find television so easy to watch that they rarely accomplish what they actually could. It is part of their lives and always comes in as a temptation. Perhaps playing video games is more fun than playing the piano. If you decide to read your Bible daily at a certain time you can be sure that the phone will ring. The second thing is the deceitfulness of riches. Let’s face it; it is easier to buy a can of green beans than it is to grow them. People with money rarely make good farmers. It’s just easier to throw money at a need than to work it out. This is the deceit of money. Money makes you think that it will always be there. It misleads you into thinking there is plenty of time. It will cause you to fail at your goal. This is our culture in a nutshell. People would actually rather have surgery to remove half their stomach than to stop eating so much!

Why do passions fade? According to this simple parable there are several reasons. When I think back on all of the things I gave up too easy I can see each one spelled out in this. At times I had no depth in myself and was shallow. I became offended and quit. Other times the cares of the world came in and I was too busy to accomplish what should have really mattered. Finally, the deceit that comes with having money caused me to believe it was easier to just buy something for my wife than to give her of my time and affections.

What about you? Was there something that you had a desire to accomplish that lost its luster? Have all of your goals been thrown aside for these same reasons? Are all of your relationships still full of the same passions as they were at first? As we enter the New Year and goals are made let’s decide to really accomplish things that matter this year. Set your heart on whatever is missing and go for all you can. Like a runner in a race let’s continue until the finish line is crossed!

Prayer-Father, forgive us all for promises that were broken. So many times we really believed that we had what it took to finish something. Things of this world have kept us from doing what You put in us to do. In many the Word of Life was thrown away because it seemed too hard. May we all set our mark to finish the race we have begun. If there are those who are struggling with habits to overcome today may they never give up until they have them beaten.

In Jesus’ Name—Amen

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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2 Responses to "When Passion Fades"

  1. Virginia says:

    Thank you Paul for reminding me about these verse’s and the passions I’ve give up as well as those I’ve struggled at.

  2. Carl DenTandt says:

    Thank you Paul I sure needed that reminder

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