Saturday, October 5, 2013

October 6, 2013

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Romans 12:11 (TNIV)

“Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame." Romans 12:11 (The Message)

What are you passionate about?

How do you fuel that passion?

What robs you of your passion?

Those are some of the issues addressed in this middle section of Romans 12.

How do you define passion? Is it an emotional state? Is it an attitude? Is it a spiritual condition?

Here, Paul defines it as a level of commitment. He equates it with "zeal".

Commitment implies a narrowed focus. When you are committed to numerous things you are, in fact, not committed. You may have multiple interests but minimal commitment. Most people nowadays can relate to the concept of being "over committed".

What happens to over committed people? Don't they usually become over stressed? Once you are over stressed what happens to your passion? What happens to your energy level? What happens to your level of performance?

I established at the beginning of this series that God calls you to the purpose of overcoming evil with His goodness. But what are the chances of overcoming evil if you are overwhelmed by too many commitments?

"But, Brad" you argue, "The things I am committed to are all good things! Isn't that how you overcome evil?"

While I will give you that if you are going to be overwhelmed it is better to be overwhelmed with good things than by bad things, but the net result is pretty much the same. In my experience, the
most common hindrance to believers overcoming evil WITH good is being overcome BY good. Doing the good things is usually what prevents you from doing the best things.

"So," you ask, "How do I narrow my focus? How do I prioritize my commitments?"

Discover that and you will take a giant step toward living with passion. I will give you a hint, Jesus said, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

October 5, 2013

"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ"  Ephesians 4:15

We have asserted that love is the motivation, the mission and the means behind evangelism and discipleship.

The love that can sustain effective evangelism over a lifetime is a committed love, a courageous love, and in this lesson we will see that it is confronting love. 

Godly love is willing to confront an attitude or an action that is ungodly.

How can you say you love your brother if you notice inappropriate behavior and fail to confront it?

Love believes the best of brothers and sisters in faith. Love calls out the best in those others. That means encouraging the right and holy things in fellow believers but it also means confronting them kindly when they are careless toward sin.

Notice I said confront not criticize.

There is a big difference between the two.

When you confront your goal is to help your brother. You confront by beginning with a positive compliment, then confront the problem and end with a prayer and a promise to help be part of the solution.

Criticism is usually not meant to be helpful. Often a critical comment is made in a bad spirit to defame or discourage another. Most criticisms are given to point out a weakness or failure without a promise to help.
Who do you love enough to confront?

Who do you trust enough to allow them permission to confront you?