Some days we just don’t feel like being passionate about our faith. But the Word of God calls us to be passionate. Is it possible to force yourself to live and act passionately without being hypocritical?
This week, Kimberly asked:
Romans 12:11 says “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” How am I supposed to be zealous (or passionate) when I emotionally don’t feel like it? Isn’t that being hypocritical?
This is a huge question, but it has a simple answer. It all boils down to the simple fact that we are each comprised of a body, a soul, and a spirit.
Each of these three parts has desires of its own. We all know that our bodies have desires: hunger, thirst, sleep, comfort, etc. We also know that our souls (mind, will, and emotions) have desires: intellectual stimulation and growth, the desire to make our own choices, and positive emotions like happiness and contentment. None of the above desires (of neither body nor soul) are necessarily “bad,” but they are often contrary to the desires of the spirit.
Your spirit is the breath of life that God breathed into you. It is the core blueprint of your true identity (more powerful even than DNA). Your spirit has desires too: relationship with Father God, communion with the Holy Spirit, and passion for Jesus Christ (among others).
Many people think that if your spirit desires to be passionate for Christ but you emotionally don’t feel like it, then it would be hypocritical to pretend to be passionate. WRONG!
Remember, your spirit is the real “you.” Therefore, if your spirit wants to be passionate and your emotions stop you, THEN you’re being hypocritical because you’re not being true to the real “you.”
James 4:17–Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (NIV)
Hypocrisy is to deny the God-given desires of your personal spirit in order to please the earth-based desires of your flesh. Your spirit wants to live passionately for God, so do it! If you will “act” passionate in accordance with the desires of your spirit, you will find that your body and soul start to come into line with the truth in your spirit. It’s not hypocrisy; it’s authenticity.
Take another quick look at Romans 12:11. It doesn’t merely say, “Never be lacking in zeal,” but it also says, “…keep your spiritual fervor…” In other words, maintain the passion in your spirit by living it out at all times.
Romans 8:5–Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (NIV)
Galatians 5:17–For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.(NIV)