From yesterday…”Two areas of concentration will help us stay this course: growing in our passion for God and understanding His plan for us. As a growing dynamic, these two pursuits bring us to a place of spiritual poverty and put us in line for kingdom blessings.”
Our Passion for God
When we hear the word “passion” we think of intense emotions that drive us to give our whole being to a person, thing or cause. I passionately love my wife. My wife and I are passionate about our children. Our whole family is passionate about the work of the kingdom of God, and each member has found a way to be a useful spiritual citizen.
But emotional drive alone doesn’t fully capture the meaning of passion. The Latin root of the word means “to suffer or endure.” Does this mean when we are passionate about others we are really just willing to endure them? No. Instead it suggests our love is so deep we will do anything for them, even if it involves dying.
This is why Jesus’ death on the cross is referred to as His passion. He completely poured Himself out for our salvation. He loved us with His heart, but He showed us His love with his body and blood. Passion involves the whole person, given in complete surrender. The Apostle Paul described Jesus’ attitude this way: “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:6-7).
The poor in spirit are those who have surrendered to the Father in humble servitude. With Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane they cry out, “Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36). Their old rebellious spirit tempts them to live for themselves, but the cross compels them to give up self and live as slaves. They are indentured to grace, and though free to leave cannot imagine life without their Master.
God’s kingdom is unlike any on earth. Where else do we find a perfect Ruler who is willing to give His very best to every citizen, including those outside the city walls who curse His holy name? What other kingdom rewards its leaders by demanding greater service to the least of all? When believers stand before Jesus on the last day, they won’t be singled out for their achievements. Instead they will be covered by the grace their Savior won for them at Calvary, and He will honor them for their willingness to be used for His glory.