Week 9: Extraordinary Passion – Living Free from Secret Bondage

Note: There is A LOT to cover in this chapter.  I didn’t summarize it all here.  This is where I am going with Wednesday night’s bible study.  The part about comparing ourselves to others and stress is also good, but we’ve spent time talking about that before and I’d like to give attention to the areas written below.

Passion: a desire to make a difference in my world and invest in God’s kingdom, rather than just coasting through life.  

Stomach punch.  When I first read this ‘definition’, all I could think was, “That’s exactly how I feel, though…that I’m coasting…floating.  I have the desire to make a difference and invest in God’s kingdom, but I actually feel like I’m just coasting.

Contentment: the state of being satisfied.

Ugh!  But I’m not satisfied.  I’m conflicted.  I’m floating when I want to move forward and make a difference!

Holy Discontent: fuel for godly passion – accepting that we can’t do everything, but we can listen to God for his leading to touch a few lives.  Energies specifically channeled by God’s wisdom.

So, wait – holy discontent is…good?  What a relief.  This is exactly how I feel.

Let’s talk about Deborah.  Deborah was a judge and prophetess.  Deborah listened for God’s instructions and sent her people into battle.  Fearless Deborah knew something Barak didn’t seem to understand: God was going to do something spectacular in the battle.  She was a common woman with uncommon faith in God’s ability to speak, lead, and accomplish treat things if his people would only follow his directions.  I take from this that sometimes you have to go through the battle even when it doesn’t make sense because God has something great in mind.  Oh, y’all know this makes me think of a song!  “I must go through the valley to stand upon the mountain of God.” ~Third Day

Now, let’s turn our attention to the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15.  This woman was a Gentile (and from the lineage of people Deborah defeated centuries before), but even she recognized that Jesus the man was something special.  The power of God was at work in him to change lives.  This woman did not back down when Jesus tried to brush her off!  And then what did he say?  “Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.”  Jesus right then and there healed her daughter when her daughter was not even in his presence.  Faith heals so much.

Jesus the man knew that he couldn’t see everyone, heal everyone, comfort everyone, etc.  He just couldn’t do it all in his human life.  Too much to do!  Guess what, folks…neither can we!  If we try to do it all, we’ll either go insane or we’ll barely touch people.  Neither is a good solution.  Instead of trying to save the world, we would serve God better to listen to His leading and then proceed without being spread too thin and getting burned out.  Then, friends, we can let go of the guilt of not saving the world, but to turn our efforts into more manageable parts.  Moses’ father-in-law also essentially told Moses that he can’t do it all or he will wear out.

Hello?  God?  Where are you???  Do you ever feel that way?  Do you ever at one moment feel all in tune with God and you have regular conversations going on and such, and then you go through a dry spell, a silence?  Well, I do.  Every relationship has its up and downs, and we shouldn’t expect our relationship with God to be linear.  In the times of closeness, our faith is refreshed and nourished, but the difficult moments serve their purpose, too.  They challenge our devotion and strengthen our resolve to trust him no matter what.

In every single situation, whether you are right beside God or if he feels a millions miles away, know that God loves you.  No matter what may go right or wrong in our lives, we can always come back to the one, true constant that is the bedrock of our relationship with God: the cross.  People who grasp the significance of Christ’s sacrifice experience genuine transformation.  They no longer value the same things, and they no longer respond in the same ways.  At the core of their beings, a radical shift has changed everything.  We never have to wonder about his love.  He demonstrated it – fully and completely – on the cross.

Questions:

1.     How can a woman be both passionate and content?

2.     What are some things in your life that prompt holy discontent?  How is God leading you to meet those needs?

3.     As  you meditate on the love of God for you today, how does it shape the way you see yourself?  Your time?  Other people?

4.     Have you ever felt God’s smile?  What does it feel like?

Prayer:

God, grow in me a holy discontent.  Teach me how to delight in you and find my satisfaction in you, but not grow insensitive to the needs around me.  Give me wisdom about when to say “yes” and when to say “no”.  Lead me to the people who need the encouragement and love I can give them.  Amen.

Source: Becoming a Woman of Extraordinary Faith by Julie Clinton.  Published by Harvest House Publishers (2011).

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