“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 17-25
We all have passions, and indeed they are a gift from God, distinguishing us from other creatures He has made. How we fuel them determines where we direct them. And where we direct them makes a difference in how we see and what we seek, how we relate to others and what we glean from relationships. God gives us free will that can be exercised either to indulge worldly enticements, which lead to scoffing, divisiveness, and pride’s self-gratification, or to maximize our passions’ effectiveness and delight by developing faith, love, self-forgetfulness, and mercy that blesses others. (James 1:14-17)
God’s word calls us to beware those who would pull our passions away from the Lord and point them toward the world. When once we lose sight and ‘tight’ with Jesus, our passions can run amok with unchecked attitudes that inflame loose tongues that castigate those with whom we disagree, destroy reputations of those we do not like, and foment anger, derision, and dissension. (James 3:6)
But we have One who is able to keep us from stumbling, who envelops us in love and is gracious in mercy, who imparts most holy faith that restrains our impulses and shows itself in bold, selfless ministry to the weak and needy. He is worthy of our passionate allegiance, and though it receives the glory, majesty, and dominion that is due Him.
Do we rev our day’s engine devoid of the Spirit, or nurturing our faith by praying in the Spirit? Are we handling the fires of doubt and flesh by adding to destruction, or rescuing others from their heat and pointing them to the Savior?
“The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14
Lord, keep me in Your love and purify my passions as only You are able. Point them always to Thee, and energized by Your Spirit, to effect Your mercy and joy in the world.