Have you seen that video of the grandfather who received a gift of adult-sized, light-up sneakers? As he opened the shoebox, he seemed rather underwhelmed by the lime green shoes. But when the soles started flashing, he jumped in his seat and then he jumped out of his seat. “Oh! Get out of town!” he yelled. Obviously excited about the gift, he showed the blinking shoes around the room, swatting a few of his family members to get them to flash again. “A dream come true!” he told them.
Such a reaction to such a little thing. New shoes. Big deal.
Where do you find your excitement? I would hope that it’s in something bigger, better, more important than shoes or sports or politics. I would hope that you might find that kind of excitement in your faith, in your relationship with God, in your salvation through Jesus. Sure, you’d expect that from a preacher, but don’t you think we ought to have some kind of excitement or enthusiasm in our lives simply because we know God?
In our Sunday evening Bible study, we’ve been following a video series about Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. When we got to Philippians 3, the preacher in the video, Matt Chandler, pointed out the excitement and enthusiasm different people have expressed because of their relationship with God. He described it as a passion or a desire to have more of God. He reminded us of David’s desire for God in Psalms 63:1, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” He referred to several Christian writers, from the first century and into modern times, who wrote about their passion and desire for God, including John Owen, a Puritan theologian in the 1600s who wrote in The Glory of Christ:
“On Christ’s glory I would fix all my thoughts and desires, and the more I see of the glory of Christ, the more the painted beauties of this world will wither in my eyes and I will be more and more crucified to this world. It will become to me like something dead and putrid, impossible for me to enjoy.”
Chandler referred to these thoughts about desiring God, both from the Scriptures and from Christians throughout the history of the church, to set the tone for our study of Philippians 3. We can see this same passion in verses 8-11 where Paul wrote:
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him…. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Then Chandler asked, “Who talks like that?” Who describes the good things in their life as being “dead and putrid” in comparison to God? Who looks at the best this world has to offer and thinks of it as “rubbish” when compared to knowing Christ? Why don’t we hear that kind of language today? Perhaps we don’t talk about our passion for Christ because we don’t live passionately for Christ.
Living passionately for Jesus isn’t a matter of singing with enthusiasm in the worship service or wearing T-shirts with Christian slogans or flooding our Facebook pages with inspirational quotes. It’s a matter of being transformed in the way we think, speak, and act because we have received the most amazing gift of all: Jesus. When you get Jesus, don’t you want more and more of Jesus? What do you do to get more of Jesus? You pursue Jesus, and the more you pursue him, the more you tell others about Jesus. That’s a life of passion and excitement.
Do you think Grandpa put his new light-up sneakers back in the box and only took them out once a week? No; he probably put them on and went out for a walk and showed them off to everyone he met.
Where’s your excitement? Where’s your passion? How would you describe your desire to know God more and more? Is that your desire? How would we know? Would you look like Grandpa and his new light-up sneakers?