The mission in Nigeria has been very fruitful one indeed. This is now my second mission to this nation, and one observation that I have made is that it is a very religious country, and yet so many Christians do not intentionally share the Gospel in one to one evangelism.
It has been such a blessing to work so closely with sound Christians with a real heart to see Nigeria reached with the Gospel message. Sadly this is not the case for all churches, as they appear to be competing with each other as opposed to networking with each other. We continue to pray for God’s leading and vision, and we have (God willing) made many more plans in place for future missions to impact this nation and to equip Christians in personal one-to-one evangelism.
A Nigerian proverb that I have learnt over here is “Send a boy where he wants to go and you’ll see his best pace.” The interpreted meaning is simply that Passion is the greatest motivator of all!
My Bible reading for the day has taken me to the book of Revelation. Please have a read:
To the church in Ephesus
1 ‘To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favour: you hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Why does spiritual passion fade so easily? When we first experience God’s love and give our lives to Jesus, we spend hours thinking about Him, studying His Word, spending time with Him in prayer, and telling others how much He means to us. Then it happens. Our busy schedules slowly dampen our passion. Our longing for Jesus and our study of His character become an occasional glance. Church life becomes nothing more than an endless routine. Surely the object of our affection hasn’t changed! So what happens, and how can we fix this problem?
The church at Ephesus wrestled with maintaining its spiritual passion. Jesus, through John, wanted to help them restore and maintain their love and zeal for Him.
The risen Lord praised the church in Ephesus for their faithful service and perseverance, however He saw that they had abandoned their first love, for He added, “Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen!” (Revelation 2:4-5).
You see, the Ephesians had lost their spiritual passion for Jesus. It had become nothing more than a cold and mechanical belief for them. Perhaps they had allowed the stealthy culprit of religion and busyness to enter their hearts, much the same as in our own lives today. Either way, whatever it was, something had stolen the affection they had once reserved for the Lord.
So, what can we do when something that once energized us has become nothing more than a burden and endless routine? Unlike a career path that can be changed quit easily, the deepest matters of our own hearts, especially our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, requires so much more. We must recapture the wonder and fervour that fueled those earlier days when we first fell in love with Jesus.
So, have you allowed something to steal your passion? If so, it can be restored and maintained when you consistently remember His amazing love demonstrated on the cross at Calvary. The solution is spelt out to us ever so clearly where the Lord Jesus says, “Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5). Devotion to Jesus is the key to spiritual passion, and so if you are struggling in any way whatsoever then start using that key right away by repenting of your wrongdoings and any unloving attitudes, and out of pure love for Jesus attempt to repeat the “…things you did at first” when you first fell in love with Him.
It is so natural when we first become Christians to speak about Jesus to the people that are near to us. Sadly, as we mature as Christians we lose that childlike habit. The Apostle Paul revealed an inspirational insight into what gives us a fuller understanding of our own faith when says “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing that we have in Christ” (Philemon 6). Indeed the more that we share our faith, the more passionate we become.
Oswald Chambers reminds us that “the old writers used to speak of the Cross as the Passion of Our Lord. The Cross is the great opening through which all the blood of Christian service runs.”
If our spiritual passion has grown cold, let us remember again the great sacrifice of Christ for our sin (Hebrews 12:3), turn away from grudging service and allow the wonder of His cross to rekindle our love for Him.
Let’s pray that we would grow in our passion for Jesus, and for in our passion for telling others about Jesus.