Written by Jon Zenor
Have you ever seen a person who is fanatical about football? They sit in the bleachers in a blizzard with nothing covering them but pants and paint. What is it that makes a person go to such lengths to show support for their team?
It’s passion, or in this case extreme passion. But you don’t have to have an extreme passion for something to make it number one in your life. Most football fans don’t go to those extremes, but they do spend as much time as they can involved in the sport.
A football fan spends hours a week watching football, even throwing parties to get others together to watch the game. You talk about it all day at work, spend time looking up news on how well various teams did that week and on trades or injuries. You wear jerseys that show support of your team, even if they lose all the time. You even create your own fantasy teams.
Your life, as a football fan, is consumed by football. There is not anything wrong with being a fanatical fan at all, I just have one question for you.
How does your passion for Jesus — your Lord and Savior, your creator, the one who died to have a relationship with you — compare to your passion for football? It may not even be football for you, it could be video games, baseball, programming, martial arts, planes, motorcycles, or any number of things that consume your every thought.
Jesus must come first!
Matthew 13:44 says “the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
As Christians Jesus must come first in our life. Not because it will please God, but because God deserves it, it is the least we can do, and the Bible says we must do it.
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62
It is even written in the Ten Commandments when God says to Moses “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) Leonard Ravenhill reminds us that “Anything you love more than Jesus Christ is an idol, I don’t care what it is!”
If you think that is harsh look at what Jesus himself said.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
Jesus is saying that your love for Him MUST be first in your life, and nothing goes above that, not your own life, and not even family. And if you think this is selfishness on God’s part, just remember that He is God almighty, the creator, the one who holds all of existence in his hand, you are just a created thing, a sinful man who rejects God every chance you get.
Please do not misunderstand what I am saying here. I am not saying all entertainment is bad and you should do nothing but read the Bible and sing praise songs. What I am getting at is that when we become a Christian, a Christ-follower, we are saying we are putting God first in our life, above everything, including entertainment. Where you spend your money and how you spend your time show what is first in your heart, Jesus or something else?
Imagine the impact YOU could have
Imagine what the impact would be like in the lives of those around you if you treated Jesus with as much time and energy you spend on football. You would go to work talking about what God has done in your life, sharing the gospel, talking about God and what is going on in the church. You would let the world know that Christians are not just hypocrites that live like the rest of the world but they are actually out there doing things!
You would remind them that when disasters happen and the government has its hands tied to help, like FEMA did when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, it was our churches that were out there giving food and aid to the people. In fact, instead of going to football games you would go on a missions trip to somewhere that needs the help and help others.
Instead of looking up news for football stats you could look up what news there is on martyrs around the world and pray for them. Every week I get an email from Voice of the Martyrs with information on those being put in prison, who are losing their homes, who are being outcast from their families and beaten because they are the ones on the front lines putting Jesus first in their life.
You would attend church no matter what the weather was like outside, or how much air conditioning worked or how comfortable the chairs at your church were. Your focus would be more on fellowship and worship than on comfort.
We don’t even need everyone to do this, just you. If just you would start putting Jesus first in your life, and having a passion for Jesus, then you alone could change a huge part of the world, everyone you interact with. Those that look up to you would catch that fire and it would spread.
Del Tackett of Focus on the Family, teacher of The Truth Project, said if just a few of you would really believe what the Bible says is true, you would change this world for Christ.
Being a Christian is not a game or a hobby. It is not something we do just once a week. Being a Christian is a life long commitment that changes your daily life, putting God first in everything you do.
When you don’t have the passion
If you find that you do not have the passion for Christ that you should there is hope for you. The first and most important thing is to test your salvation, make sure you are saved.
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” – 2 Corinthians 13:5
Study the Word of God, what does it mean to be a Christian? This is an important enough topic to spend the time studying for yourself. When I went through this last year it took me a couple of months of searching scripture, comparing what I was reading to my life, and most importantly praying, a lot. Being saved is not based on works, but if you are saved, if you do have Christ living in you, then you cannot help but manifest the fruit of God living in your life.
A major thing that will get in the way of a Christian’s passion for Jesus is sin. If you are living in sin then you will not be passionate for God, you can’t be. You will avoid the Word of God, and the things of God. Search your life for any unrepentant sin and repent of it, turn every area of your life towards God.
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. – 1 John 3:4-6
Jesus wants all of us, not just our leftovers
“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” – Matthew 10:38
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
Jesus wants, and deserves every part of you to follow Him. He knows that we are most satisfied personally when we are bringing glory to Him, it is what we were created for. Don’t waste another day putting garbage in the place of God in your life.