by Richard Billingsley
3/11/2016 (Updated 6/6/18)
Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NLT)
25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
This verse was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost when Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit. We received a new heart that cries Abba (Father) with a desire to do the ways of God and to follow his guidelines, to pursue him through the Holy Spirit and be blessed in this life. It is odd in today’s culture we call ourselves Christian but do so many things that have no foundation the ways of God. Many Christians accept Jesus as their Savior, but never make him their Lord. They never pick up a Bible and seek to understand the creator who saved them or how he wants to bless them. They continue living their lives as they always have never considering that they are living in the heart of the pagan lifestyle following the ways of this world.
While we may have the Spirit of God within us and a desire to follow His decrees, nothing happens if we don’t fan the flames of our own PASSION to follow after Him. If we honestly have the heart to pursue the ways of God, then it is our PASSION that gives us the drive and motivation to take action to seek His ways as they are found in the Bible and make them part of our daily life. Without passion, we sit by saying praise the Lord and letting the old nature carry us along and living in our ancient traditions of men.
Consider what Jesus said about this to the Church in Ephesus.
Revelation 2:1-7 (NLT)
The Message to the Church in Ephesus
1 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Ephesus. This is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand, the one who walks among the seven gold lampstands:
2 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. 3 You have patiently suffered for me without quitting.
4 “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! 5 Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.
6 But this is in your favor: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans, just as I do.
7 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.
This letter is to those in the Church today that have let their PASSION fade. The PASSION or LOVE we have toward God is our responsibility to keep on fire. When a couple starts dating, each one puts effort into fanning the flames of passion for maintaining that relationship growing. They get married, but if they don’t continue to fan those flames that brought them together, over time the fire of passion fades, the ways of the world (traditions of men) creep in, and eventually, the marriage falls apart. It is only through the pursuit of the passion that the heart stays on fire.
Jesus is warning us that ignoring our PASSION for Him can eventually lead to Him removing us from His body. In Matthew 25:1-13 we see it in the five foolish virgins who are left behind. They did not have the PASSION for the Bridegroom, thinking they had enough oil and when they came pounding on the door, it was already locked. It was too late. In Matthew 25:14-30 the servant who hid His master’s gift in the ground, because he did not even have the PASSION for knowing his own master. He thought his master was a tyrant and ultimately cast into the outer darkness (hell) for his carelessness. None of us wants to be left behind, but it can happen if we let our PASSION fade.
It is true that the scriptures say everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Rom 10:13). But because we don’t study, we fail to see in scriptures that there are many levels of salvation, and it is the level of one’s PASSION or LOVE that determines the level of one’s salvation within the Kingdom of God. In Matthew 25:31-46 the last judgment is the judgment of the nations, and if anyone has given even a glass of water to one who is kindred to Jesus (Jewish), they are saved and allowed into the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus. But once in that kingdom, they will be required to live according to the ways of God, for those who rebel against Him are destroyed at the end of those 1000 years. God has great mercy and has made it extremely easy to obtain salvation, but that is only the beginning.
For those with the greatest PASSION for pursuing the ways of God and building an intimate relationship with the Jesus, they become the Bride of Christ and married to Jesus. This passion means more than most realize for it reveals the destiny of those who are considered worthy to be caught up in the Rapture of the Bride. Those Raptured will be married to Jesus and to make that clear: Jesus is God, and the Wife of Jesus will become one with Him and become part of the Godhead within the Kingdom and given power and authority and blessing that the others will never receive. They will be part of the royal family to oversee and create new planets, establish new colonies for the people to populate and grow the Kingdom of God throughout the Universe. First in this galaxy and then expand to other galaxies. And there will be many surprises beyond even these things reserved for the Raptured Bride of Christ. This is why it is SO IMPORTANT that we continue to fan the PASSION of our LOVE for Christ, why we seek to mirror our lives to the WAYS OF GOD found within HIS WORD, for we want everything that He has for us. Not just salvation, but to be part of the marriage of the Bride. Those who are careless regarding their relationship with Jesus will never reach this level of glory. In 1 Cor 15:40-42, Paul tells us that there are different kinds of glory and what we receive is entirely dependent upon our relationship with Jesus and obedience to the ways of God.
I have seen and experienced the power of the life to come. God has shared these things with me so that I could share them with you. I don’t want just salvation! I want the PASSION of the Bride of Christ. I want everything God wants to give me. And the only way we get that is to have the PASSION to PURSUE the ways of God in every area of our lives.
Everyone should challenge themselves to have the PASSION for pursuing the ways of God, and not merely living the traditions of men, hoping you will get in by the skin of your teeth? That attitude is dangerous and may backfire, ending in the fire of hell. Pursue the passion with your whole heart!
Live in God’s LOVE!