This week, I read another familiar story in Colombian news. Two rival soccer teams faced off, each determined to win. The game was close, the tension lasted until the last minute, and finally, one group emerged victorious…
…And then comes the rest of the story. Fans, filled with passion for their team’s cause, break out in violence. The loosing side is angry, the winning side is prideful and arrogant. Both are zealous.
As people leave the stadium, if one is seen wearing anything resembling the other team’s colors, their life is in danger. Rocks are cast, punches thrown, weapons are drawn and harsh words echo the streets surrounding the area. Riot police are called in and chaos breaks out. People die. People are hurt. Why? Because of passion.
This is exactly what happened on Sunday in Medellín Colombia. They ended up arresting over 350 people and confiscating 450 weapons. They really were prepared to break out in violence and passionate enough to kill! You can read the story here.
You know, we might read something like that and think, “My oh my, why are people so dumb about a silly game?!” But, if we would be honest with ourselves, we’d find that we are just as passionate sometimes. Our passion simply takes a different form–hunting, fishing, golf, football, shopping, video games, movies, technology, friends, etc… The list could go on and on.
In the Bible, Paul often spoke of passion, sometimes referred to as zeal. You know, he was a pretty passionate guy himself. Check out what he said in Philippians 3:
“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”
He was the pick of the litter when it came to religion. He had all the right training, the right family, the right positions, the right everything… He was the at the top and he knew it. He was so passionate about his religion that he was willing to kill people for it! That’s why he persecuted the church! Zeal. A passion for the cause.
But then looks at what he says in the very next verses:
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
Did you catch that? He said it was a loss to him! Paul came to the place where he realized that the things he was so passionate about were not drawing him close to God. In fact, they were unprofitable to him and Christ’s cause! He laid it aside in order to win Christ.
You know, we need some Christians that would be willing to do that. We get so tied up in this world and all of its many pleasures and pastimes that we are loosing Christ. It should be the other way around! Let us, the Children of God, determine to be passionate about HIM! More than anything else, HE will be my zeal. HE will be the driving force of energy that keeps me going each day. HE will be my goal, my prize, my life! HE will be my everything!
We might think the Colombian soccer fans may seem a little overzealous in their cause. When is the last time somebody accused you of being overzealous for Christ? They had a passion willing to kill another person. Let us get a passion for the Lord that would be willing to kill our own will and die to self. That’s the right passion. That’s the right zeal.
Die to self. Live unto Him.
Lets get ahold of a passion that kills.