The Fiery Power of Redeemed Passion


“From beyond all place and time, out of the very Place, authority will be given you: the strengths that once opposed your will shall be obedient fire in your blood and heavenly thunder in your voice. Overcome us that, so overcome, we may be ourselves: we desire the beginning of your reign as we desire dawn and dew, wetness at the birth of light.” (C.S. Lewis. The Great Divorce. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1946, p. 104.)

God intends to redeem and harness the powerful passions in me for His kingdom purposes. Often though, the powerful creative urge in me has been bent so that I am tempted to misdirect and misuse it.

How do I respond to this bent? Sometimes I deny those passions. Perhaps I pretend they aren’t there. But like any unacknowledged source of pressure, it will eventually find a way out. And having come from places of hiding, it won’t likely be good. At other times, I may follow the bent direction of these passions, injuring myself and others.

These two responses are both false. The faithful response is to welcome God’s healing, redeeming work so that “the strengths that once opposed your will shall be obedient fire in your blood and heavenly thunder in your voice.” I long for my life and my work to be moved by the fiery power of redeemed passion.

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(Repost from June 2009)

The Fiery Power of Redeemed Passion


A home near La Cienega, Dominican Republic

“From beyond all place and time, out of the very Place, authority will be given you: the strengths that once opposed your will shall be obedient fire in your blood and heavenly thunder in your voice. Overcome us that, so overcome, we may be ourselves: we desire the beginning of your reign as we desire dawn and dew, wetness at the birth of light.” (C.S. Lewis. The Great Divorce. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1946, p. 104.)

God intends to redeem and harness the powerful passions in me for His kingdom purposes. Often though, the powerful creative urge in me has been bent so that I am tempted to misdirect and misuse it.

How do I respond to this bent? Sometimes I deny those passions. Perhaps I pretend they aren’t there. But like any unacknowledged source of pressure, it will eventually find a way out. And having come from places of hiding, it won’t likely be good. At other times, I may follow the bent direction of these passions, injuring myself and others.

These two responses are both false. The faithful response is to welcome God’s healing, redeeming work so that “the strengths that once opposed your will shall be obedient fire in your blood and heavenly thunder in your voice.” I long for my life and my work to be moved by the fiery power of redeemed passion.

(Repost from June 2009)

Cool Coffee and Warm Soda


(Edited journal excerpt from July 13, 1990)

I like my coffee hot (burn-your-tongue hot). I like my soda cold (brain-freeze-cold). As I’ve been editing this entry, I took a sip of coffee that had been sitting on my desk too long. Lukewarm. I felt like doing a cartoon spit-take.

Jesus talks about doing the same in his words to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-21. I took time to reflect on this text in a time of solitude and silence.

Jesus is the “faithful and true witness” (vs. 14). He sees everything with clarity and perfect vision, and tells it like it is. Jesus is not surprised by anything in my life. He will always speak words of grace and truth to me.

He sees exactly what we do and how we live (vs. 15). When our lives have become tepid and tasteless, He is well aware. Jesus is so engaged with us that our apathy and lack of passion touches Him, making him nauseous (16). I certainly don’t want Jesus to see me this way. I want my life to be refreshing to Him.

My problem is the same as that of the Laodicean church. They were living in deluded self‑sufficiency. They felt they had no real or at least significant needs (vs. 17). Jesus’ perspective was very different. He saw them as wretched where they saw sufficiency, pitiful where they felt admirable, poor where they felt quite rich, blind where they were very proud of their insights and understandings, naked where they felt dressed in the finest fashion. Their self-sufficiency was misguided and empty. As for them, our sufficiency is in Christ alone (20). He alone exalts us. He only honors us. He Himself is our treasure, our light and the One Who clothes us with clean garments. What we need, we find in Jesus (18).

As my Counselor, Jesus tenderly rebukes and disciplines me (vs. 19). He commands me to be earnest and repent. I can’t repent halfheartedly. No one “sort of” repents. I must determine to keep on turning towards Him and follow Him.

I’m drawn finally to Jesus’ words of invitation in verse 20. He invites me to 1) hear His voice, 2) open the door and 3) enjoy hospitality with Him.  Listen, open and enjoy. Enable me, Father, to live such a life with You.

All of this shapes a question in my mind: “Am I seeking salvation on the perimeter with self-inspired actions or self-designed techniques? Or, am I seeking salvation at the center—here with the Savior, allowing His life work itself out into mine?” Am I trying to affect the inside of me by multiplying outward activities? Or, am I allowing my insides to be transformed and see that affect the fruit of my outer life?

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A Good Word: No Life Without Passion


I came across this in my journal from a while back:

“…life without passion is no life at all. The sober truth is that there is no new life without passion. No baby was ever conceived without passion; no great poem was ever produced without passion; no great piece of music was ever composed without passion. Passion is what takes us beyond the superficiality of life to a deep and wonderful glow in which we learn to care.” (Elton Trueblood. “The Courage to Care.” The Yoke of Christ and Other Sermons. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958, p. 78.)

How is God tending and stirring your passion for Him at this stage of your journey? What moves you? What touches you? What makes you laugh or cry?

(I’d be grateful for your prayers today as I give my “Much More Fruitful” presentation today at Fuller Seminary in Julie Gorman’s “Adult Spiritual Formation” class. Always a treat. I’ve been doing this now for seventeen years, I think. Yikes!)

The Fiery Power of Redeemed Passion


“From beyond all place and time, out of the very Place, authority will be given you: the strengths that once opposed your will shall be obedient fire in your blood and heavenly thunder in your voice. Overcome us that, so overcome, we may be ourselves: we desire the beginning of your reign as we desire dawn and dew, wetness at the birth of light.” (C.S. Lewis. The Great Divorce. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1946, p. 104.)

God intends to redeem and harness the powerful passions in me for His kingdom purposes. Often though, the powerful creative urge in me has been bent so that I am tempted to misdirect and misuse it.

How do I respond to this bent? Sometimes I deny those passions. Perhaps I pretend they aren’t there. But like any unacknowledged source of pressure, it will eventually find a way out. And having come from places of hiding, it won’t likely be good. At other times, I may follow the bent direction of these passions, injuring myself and others.

These two responses are both false. The faithful response is to welcome God’s healing, redeeming work so that “the strengths that once opposed your will shall be obedient fire in your blood and heavenly thunder in your voice.” I long for my life and my work to be moved by the fiery power of redeemed passion.