“So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.” Acts 12:5
“But when Pricilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the ways of God more accurately.” Acts 18:26.
How could a story told at a class reunion in Arkansas about a dying woman’s last words to her children weave its way into our hearts and impact our lives in Duluth, Georgia?
Because that’s the way passion works.
Brother Gearl told us the story Sunday. How a dying woman of few words in her entire life, within minutes of meeting Jesus, sat upright in her bed, and, with clarity and passionate conviction declared, “It is true. He is Truthful. He is true.” How many other people at that reunion heard that story? How many other people did that fellow classmate of Brother Gearl and Cindy’s tell that story? How many people will we tell that story? You have to ask yourself, how far will the passionate testimony of that dying woman reach?
That’s the way passion works. Folks responded to Brother Gearl’s story. You could see joy and wonder and awe in some faces as they listened to him tell about her. It’s the same way we respond to passion in others when we hear it and see it, and it moves us. Just like in our scripture above. Peter was in prison, but in the church people who Peter didn’t even know were praying for him fervently, passionately. Their passion for prayer and for Peter moved God to free Peter from prison. That’s how passion works.
Think about this: Have you ever been talking with someone deeply involved in a cause or a ministry and asked this question: “Gee, are you passionate about ______?” Why don’t you have to ask? Because their passion shows. It shows in their words, it shows in their actions and it shows in their countenance. Passion in people radiates from within and touches everything and everyone in its path.
As Brother Gearl taught us, passion takes form in all kinds of people; and their passions manifest themselves in different ways. Not everyone expresses their passion as boldly as Peter. Peter’s passion at Pentecost was over the top. He expressed His love for Jesus so boldly and passionately that 3,000 were moved to repentance, confession and salvation.
On the other hand, Priscilla and Aquila worked behind the scenes, quietly albeit effectively, to support Paul and encourage Apollo, “and show him the ways of God more accurately.” (v. 26) As a result of their quiet, confident passion for Jesus Apollo “became a powerful and passionate teacher and was able to demonstrate by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” (v.28) How far did Priscilla and Aquila’s quiet passion reach? How many souls did Apollo’s bold, passionate teaching win for Christ? Only God knows. But, that’s how passion works.
Passion like that we observe in Paul and Peter and Priscilla and Aquila and Apollo and Stephen and Isaiah and Daniel and Nehemiah and all across the spectrum of the Bible, and in the lives of passionate saints today right here at One Heart should stir us and motivate us to evaluate our own passion for Christ.
Holy God is so passionate about His love for us that He loves us unconditionally, always has and always will. He loves us in spite of our shortfalls, scars and sins. Christ loves us so much that He bore the burden of all our sins on the cross so we could live together with Him forever.
The question for us this week, after hearing Brother Gearl’s teaching about passion, is this: How passionate are you for an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus? Brother Gearl suggested that if we don’t pursue that relationship of passion with Jesus we run the risk of becoming passive with Jesus. What kind of people impact you the most, passionate people or passive people? Which kind of folks influence you the most?
Your answers may determine whether your relationship with Jesus this week is refreshing to you and others or not. Is it more passionate or passive? Here’s another question for you: When you interact with people this week will the way you live your life reveal your passion for Christ and this testimony: It is True. He is Truthful. He is True?