“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you except to listen carefully to all he says to you, and to obey for your own good the commandments I am giving you today, and to love him, and to worship him with all your hearts and souls? (The Living Bible “TLB”)
What motivates me? What drives me to toil, daily? Why do I slog-it-out and grind to succeed? Are my ambitions balanced? For example, if all my time is spent “in pursuit”, then what passions drive my busyness? Does my affection for things (covertness?) fuel by my drive for wealth? Does my affection for pleasure (lust?) fuel my physical drives? What is the spring board for my actions?
God’s command to the Jews targeted their passions; not intellect. Actions mirror passions. God instructed the Israelites to listen, obey, love, respect and revere Him completely. Our deep-seated desires drive our hearts and souls. “Soul” refers to your identity. This identity, which makes you to be uniquely you, comes from your mind, will, emotions and conscience. Your “mind” refers to your “thoughts”. Your “will” refers to your “goals and ambitions”. Your emotions refer to your “feelings”. Your “conscience” refers to your “sense of right/wrong”. So how does your heart enter God’s mix? Man’s “heart” is the overlap of these four areas. Our outward actions reflect our core self. For believers, our “core self” mirrors how we listen, obey, love, respect and revere our Father. Our passions, not knowledge, drive our behavior…
“Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all—it is dead and useless… Are there still some among you who hold that “only believing” is enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember that the demons believe this too—so strongly that they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that “believing” is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith.” (Js 2:17,19 TLB)
In his Small Catechism explanation of the Ten Commandments, Martin Luther starts his discussion of each commandment with the same motivation. Notice, again, that passion (not knowledge) is the motivator. For example,
“We should fear and love and trust God above all things.” (1st Commandment).
“We should fear and love God that we may not curse, swear … or deceive by His Name but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.” (Commandment #2)
“We should fear and love that we may not despise preaching and his word but hold it sacredly and gladly hear and learn it.” (Commandment #3) … and so on.
Jonathan Edwards, one of the leaders of the Great Awakening, “The kind of religion that God requires, and will accept, does not consist of weak, dull and lifeless “wouldings” – those weak inclinations that lack conviction – that raise us but a little above indifference.” God requires that we be “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. (Rom 12:11, KJV)
Live my passion by respecting and revering the Lord today. Set aside 15-20 minutes of solitude where I pray for the needs of friends and acquaintances, meditate on Jesus’ loving sacrifice and permit myself to consider my faith and the balance of my walk. Pray about the spring board for my actions? Make changes accordingly…
“You are the only Bible some unbelievers will ever read.” – John MacArthur