Passions of a Godly Life
Life in Christ . . . with Passion. The more I read the book of Colossians, the more I understand the power of living my life in a specific way, with a certain mindset, and propelled by deep seated love for my Savior. Life without the fullness of Christ has no real purpose or meaning for me and I am sure that is true for every person on this planet . . . though they may not know it. A popular beer commercial used this slogan years ago: ''You only go around once in life, so you have to grab for all the gusto you can get!" Gusto is the idea of enjoyment and pleasure.
But think about this for a moment. If this life is all there is, then really, what is there to live for? This momentary pleasure, this temporary wealth, or maybe a little bit of life we may have with no pain or physical problems? Everything is fleeting, temporary, passing, and short lived. Remember when your children were born? Then suddenly, almost without notice they were graduating from school, getting married, having children of their own, and now you’re a grandparent. You know as well as I do that grandchildren come along quickly and you wonder, what happened to life? Suddenly, we realize that the life we have lived is short and the most important thing we have is what is eternal.
Many people simply do not get that. They live today as if that is all they must live for. Thus, their only passion in this life is for the temporal things of this world . . . all the gusto they can grab. Now don’t get me wrong, it is certainly fine to have desires and passions for our life here in this world, but they should be ultimately driven by our passion for Jesus Christ. Living passionately for our Lord should be what fuels our passions during this life. The eternal must speak into the heart of the temporal, otherwise, the things we do have no real purpose or meaning in life.
We have spent the last four Sundays in the book of Colossians looking at different aspects of a Godly life that has passion. A life that has fullness, gusto, and meaning behind it.
Faith with Passion (Colossians 2:6-7)
~ rooted, built up, and established
Prayer with Passion (Colossians 4:2-4)
~ steadfast, watchful, with thanksgiving
Suffering with Passion (Colossians 1:24-29)
~ rejoicing, filling what is lacking
Fullness with Passion (Colossians 2:8-14)
~ vigilance, fullness, barriers removed
Church with Passion (Colossians 1:1-8, 2:1-4, 3:12-17)
~ bearing fruit, forgiving, teaching, singing, thanking
Since it is Father’s Day, let’s look at what the book of Colossians has to say about how a life lived for the Lord means doing home with passion. In other words, the things we do for home and family should be driven by our love for the Lord.
Home with Passion (3:17-24)
We ended with verse 17 last week, but we didn’t have time to say much about it, so I would like to begin there this morning.
~ Everything in Jesus’ Name (v. 17)
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
I don’t know of a way to express what is being said here that would be more all-inclusive than this. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything.” Every word and every action that comes from us should be said and done “in the name of Jesus.” This brings us back to the fullness of Christ found in 2:9-10 that we talked about a couple of weeks ago. As the fullness of our life in Christ overflows from us, our words and our actions are a reflection of Him. Every aspect of our daily living begins to look like Jesus. No, we are not perfect in that, but every day we should become more and more like Jesus.
Galatians 2:20 (ESV)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Part of living a passionate life in Christ involves striving to act consistent with who we are. We are saved from our sin and we are free to live for our Lord. I want to say and do everything in the name of Jesus. I want to represent Him well. When I don’t, I strive to see that change in my life. With God’s help, I strive to be who I should be. It becomes my passion. I look for opportunities and ways in which I can show off the fullness of Christ in me.
Instead of reacting in the flesh to things that seem to come against us, we need to take time to respond in a way that glorifies the Lord. This mindset becomes a part of our passionate life for the Lord. Everything done in Jesus name. Paul moves from our individual words and actions to the function of the family. How does family fit into putting God on display?
~ Family Pleasing the Lord (vv. 18-20)
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
This is a short and concise statement that is elaborated on in Ephesians 5. Wives submit, husbands love, and children obey. Usually, the one that sticks in our throats as the words come out of our mouths is the statement that wives are to submit. But in reality, all three of these are a problem in family relations. And if I were honest, all three often relate to the father’s leading in the home. Husbands struggle to love their wives like Christ loves the church and gave Himself for her (Ephesians 5:25). This is powerful. I am supposed to love my wife like Christ loves the church! Children struggle in obedience to parents because they think they know better. But father’s play a big role in this also. We need to be the kind of fathers that are worthy of obedience and respect.
Because of our sin nature, we like to twist things all around. Let me talk about the submission one for just a moment and see if I can get into trouble here. Submission has nothing to do with equality. The husband and wife are equal in every way. Submission does not mean servitude of the wife to her husband. The husband and wife work together as equals in the home. However, God holds the husband responsible for how he loves his wife, how she is treated, and for how the home functions. It is not a wise husband who does not listen to the advice of his wife. But the husband is the one who answers to God for how he leads the home. Though there may be times when husbands wish it were the other way around, its not. Men, you are responsible for the function of the home.
But this does not mean you are a ruling monarch that demands everyone be subject to you. Submission is not something the husband commands, it is offered willingly by a wife who loves the Lord. Like Christ is equal in the Godhead with the Father, yet He submits to the Father’s will. The family is a picture of the relationships found in the godhead. Men, we need to also realize that the husband’s love for the wife is unconditional. Even at times when she is unlovable, the husband is to love and not treat her harshly. Because men struggle with the sin nature, they are prone to use harsh words, threats, unkindness, and even physical violence. There is no room for even a hint of this in a Christian home; instead, men are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church.
Children are to obey their parents in everything. The everything here is limited to that which aligns with the Word of God, of course. Again, the context is a Christian home and children should obey their parents as this is pleasing to the Lord. Our passion in the family unit is to put God on display in how we function. We will have times when we falter or even fail, but we desire to do all we can to have a family functioning in a way that pleases the Lord. It is our passion because it is fitting and pleasing to the Lord and because it puts Christ, and the godhead on display.
~ Leadership Revering the Lord (vv. 21-22)
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
I read an illustration that R. Kent Hughes gave concerning Fathers and how they raise their children. He said that there are two ways that a person can use to break a wild horse. One of them is a progressive method of using a halter, then bridle, then a blanket, and finally saddle each over many days or even weeks before attempting to get on the horse and ride it. The other method, that a few trainers use to break a horse quickly was with a two by four against the side of the head each time the horse did not do as the trainer wanted until it was submissive to the trainer. Of course, the horse may have become obedient, but the horse will have lost all its spirit and liveliness.
Fathers can do the same thing in the home with their children. Maybe not with a two by four, but through other means that cause their children to be obedient but with no respect or desire for doing so. The word translated “discouraged is ἀθυμέω (athumeo), which means to be disheartened, dispirited, or broken in spirit. The idea is that Fathers should not use harsh punishments or be so severely strict as to produce obedience in their children, because it will break their spirit, their passion, for anything, including living for the Lord.
Now you might think it interesting that I connected verses 21 and 22, but I think both apply to how godly leadership, whether as a father with children in the home, or an employer with employees in a business, can create an environment of godly passion. Both environments flourish under passionate godly leadership. Now I am not trying to say the children are like employees or even that Fathers should even consider themselves like masters, but the leadership principles are very similar if not the same.
You say, now wait a minute, it doesn’t say employers and employees, it says masters and bondservants. You are right, so let’s talk about that for just a moment, but I don’t want to spend too much time here. There were a ton of slaves in the biblical times of the New Testament. It is estimated that a third of the Roman Empire’s population during Paul’s time were slaves.
There were several ways a person became a slave. They may have been born to a woman who was a slave and thus born into it with no choice of their own. Unwanted children who were left outside the city gate to die could be taken as a slave for a family if they felt they could support the child. Sometimes, a debt had to be paid and the only way to pay back the one you were indebted to was to become their slave. There were some examples of forced slavery, like we are familiar with in the early years of our country, but that was less common than we might realize. Though this was not true with all slaves, many slaves were like employees. They were either paying back debts, or that was their only way of producing an income, so they sold themselves into slavery. But there is a wide range of reasons a person was a slave during this time.
As you might expect, masters of slaves varied in what kind of person they were also. Some were certainly harsh, cruel, taskmasters while others were kind, providing a decent place to live, good food to eat, and treated them almost like family. And there were many in between these two extremes also.
Many who came to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior were slaves and even some masters became Christians. Thus, we find instructions in Scripture concerning slaves and masters. Slavery is not condoned in the Bible, but instructions are given as to how to honor the Lord in this type of relationship of slaves and masters. God never approves of the mistreatment of human beings and treating them like animals. That is part of the reason He delivered Israel from Egypt; He heard their cry under the harshness of their taskmasters.
Now back to verse 22 of Colossians 3. I see this verse relating to our employer and employee relationships in our culture today. Not that I am saying that our bosses are slave masters and we are their servants, but that the relationship described can be similar.
Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
Employees should do everything they can to please the one they work for. Why? Not because we are trying to be a people pleaser, but because of our sincerity of heart and awe of God. The connection I see between the instruction for the father and the instruction for the bondservant is that in both relationships, it is about godly leadership, passionately leading in such a way that children in the home love to obey and honor their fathers, and in the workplace, employees love to do all they can for their employers because it comes from a heart of love for the Lord. Do you see that connection?
Fathers, as leaders in the home, we are to lead in such a way as to help children love the Lord passionately. We should lead in such a way that they see we love, admire, revere the Lord in our lives. As employers, we are to lead in such a way that employees serve from a heart of love and awe of God. This is huge. Living passionately for the Lord and help others to live that way also. In fact, that’s what the last three verses describe to us.
~ Living for the Lord (vv. 23-25)
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
This concept of living for the Lord is in the context of not just the workplace, but in the home also. This all relates back to the verse we began with, verse 17, where we were told that everything we do is to be done in the name of Jesus. Many people in this world work hard for their employers, many fathers do well in establishing a home where the family is happy. For an employee, often the focus is a pay raise, a promotion in position, or a respected name in the workplace. If a father has a family that is well behaved, he enjoys the respect of those he knows in the community.
As grand as all this sounds, the motivation is wrong. We do what we do as fathers and employees as to the Lord, not for men. Yes, these things benefit other people, but our motivation is not the other people, our motivation is our passion to live for the Lord to the best of our ability. Our reward is beyond this life. This is our motivation when we are working as an under paid employee or fathering thankless children. We do what we do heartily as for the Lord. Because in reality, we are to be doing it for the Lord!
When our focus for work and family is living with passion for the Lord, this is the motivation that drives us. Not the temporal benefits of this world. Our life is filled with passion as we live to please the Lord.
As fathers and grandfathers, our lives are about putting Jesus on display to our children and grandchildren. We are living each day for the Lord and as we do, our families will see that. As godly leaders and workers in the workplace, we do everything heartily as to the Lord and as we do, our coworkers and employers will see that. They will know that we are passionate about our faith.
Are our passions in this world ultimately driven by our passion for Jesus Christ? Does the eternal speak into the heart of the temporal things we do in this world? If not, why not?