A question we should ask ourselves often is, “Am I excited about God? Am I passionately pursuing a deeper relationship with Him? Am I serving Him with enthusiasm?”
Since I was a kid I can remember our whole family cheering on the Toronto Maple Leafs. If you know a bit about hockey you would know that Leafs fans are extremely loyal. We get excited about the possibility of winning at a later date, even if the team has had a bad season, and they have had many.
The Maple Leafs have a tagline: The passion that unites us all. It portrays the reality of most fans, no matter how they play, fans will still cheer, they will still be loyal, and they will all dream of the day that the Leafs hoist the Stanley Cup once again!
Enthusiasm and passion have a way of keeping us committed, even in times where we would otherwise be tempted to give up.
I love Paul, because he was a man who had every reason to quit. He went through so much, but at the end of his life we see a man just as passionate about his Savior as the day he was saved.
In 2 Timothy 4, Paul lists several things that he did that kept the fires of his enthusiasm burning with great intensity. Here are some of them:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
Paul was all in, all the time. Why? He thought it was worth it.
Throughout history there have been many conflicts. Along with those conflicts comes the speculation of whether some of them were worth it. How discouraging it must be for those who have fought in conflicts to hear people ask, Was this worth it?
Paul gives the idea that the battle he was fighting was a good one, that is to say, it was worth fighting. He knew that all the blood, sweat and tears were 100% worth it. His conviction that the Christian life was worth living well kept him enthusiastic.
Stay in love
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)
How many times have you found yourself engaged in the Lords work, but doing it because you have to? Keeping our love for Christ growing and vibrant is so critical, it could not be overstated.
Paul’s passion was fueled by a love to see his Savior face to face. He longed for the day he would see Christ. It is that same passion that could cause him to say, for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. We need to grow in our love for Christ, and in our desire to see Him if we want to stay on fire for Him.
Stay in the word
“The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.” (2 Timothy 4:13 KJV 1900)
Though we are not exactly sure what these books and parchments were, many commentators do not find it a stretch to assume that Paul is referring in part to the Scriptures, and possibly the parchments being a letter he was working on, or wanted to use to write a letter.
Either way, Paul did not end his studies, though he was in prison, and literally on death row. After all, he is soon going to be with the Lord, and everything he wants to know, he will learn then, right?
But what did he actually do?
It’s amazing how Paul continued to study, learn and write even though he was in prison. It will be hard, if not impossible for a Christian to stay motivated, and enthusiastic if they are not spending time daily in God’s word. Studying the Bible is so important because God motivate us through it and changes us with it.
Stay close to Him
“Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” (2 Timothy 4:17 KJV 1900)
Paul’s desire to follow the Lord and never give up, to stay close to Him even if he would have to stand alone, is rewarded in this verse: The Lord stood with me. What a statement!
His closeness to the Father caused him to find passion amid trouble, because he knew that God was with him. The close relationship he had with God, gave him the assurance that the Lord was standing with him.
We too will find our passion increases as we stay close to the Savior.
So where is our level of passion? Are we seeking to know Him more? Are we excited to serve Him in our families and assemblies?
May we with great conviction identify with the prayer of Jim Elliot: “God, I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life, that I may burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus.”