Small Group Discussion
By Mark Conner (19 & 20 July 2003)
Rom 12:11z. Never be lacking in zeal, but
keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.
Fulfilling your purpose will require
passion (zeal, fervency or enthusiasm). 'Purpose' has to do with our head –
thinking right about why we're here and understanding our calling. 'Passion'
has to do with our heart – the internal fire that motivates us and energises us
to fulfil our purpose and do God's will. God is the
source of spiritual passion. The Holy Spirit comes to ignite us with holy fire.
In the world we live in, natural passion is
often a key to success and impact. Knowing information is valuable, but
possessing the fire is invaluable. Nothing major in history was ever
accomplished without zeal. It is the deciding
difference between successful and unsuccessful people in every field of
endeavour. The fire on the inside affects everything on the outside. William
Ward says: "Enthusiasm and persistence can make an average person superior;
indifference and lethargy can make a superior person average."
Passion is not something that is static or
that stays the same. A fire either spreads or burns
out. The tendency of fire, if left by itself, is to go out. Passion works the
same way. We need to work it, stoke it and build it.
There are many passion
killers. A few common ones include complacency, difficult circumstances, an
unbalanced lifestyle and familiarity. The result is 'apathy'. Apathy isn't a state of mind; it's a state of heart.
God knows the moment we loose our passion
or zeal, we loose vision and perspective. Satan knows this too, and there is
nothing he likes better than an apathetic Christian. One definition of lukewarmness
is "serving God in such a way as to not offend the devil."
Guard the flame within you. This zeal of God is
a consuming fire within you, you need to guard it ferociously, realising it is
the enemy's target. Protect your passion.
How do you ignite your passion or keep it
burning? We can pray for passion and ask God to put his fire within us again. Jesus
desires to baptise us with the Holy Spirit and with
fire (Matt.3:11-12. Luke 3:16. Acts 2:3-4). We can do things that help us
return to our 'first love' (Rev.2:4-5), including dealing positively with
negative emotions that have settled into our spirit. We can activate our
spiritual gifts (1 Tim.4:14-16) and serve wholeheartedly (Col.3:23). Sometimes
we have to stir up this flame of passion within us (2 Tim.1:6-7). We can also
associate with people of passion – people who encourage and inspire you (Heb.10:24-25).
Understand your purpose and then ask God to fill you with passion to
pursue it. Focus your passion on fulfilling your purpose. Passionately love
God, love people, change and grow, serve and reach out. We are to be a passionate people like our God. God desires passionate
believers. God's mission for CityLife is for us to be a group of "fervent"
followers of Jesus Christ.
is about living with a sense of urgency and passion. It's living with a vision
and a dream to give our lives to; a kingdom to spend our life on; the God of
heaven and earth to pursue and know intimately. God
works through passionate people!
Sample Discussion Questions
- Describe a time when your spiritual passion was high. What were the
circumstances that caused this and what was the result?
This is an important time of sharing and getting to know one
another. It will also reveal some of the factors concerning passion.
- Describe a time when your spiritual passion diminished or died. What
were the circumstances that caused this and what was the result?
This time of sharing and getting to know one another will reveal
some of the factors as to why passion diminishes and the results.
- On a scale of 1-10, 1 being cold, 5 being lukewarm and 10 being hot,
where would you place your sense of spiritual passion right now? Is it growing,
diminishing or about the same as it has been for a while?
This is not a 'performance grading' but an honest evaluation of
where each person is. Unless we define 'reality' we can't move forward. God
loves an honest heart.
- Discuss some 'passion killers' you have experienced? How can we be
on guard against these kids of things?
Gain wisdom from life's experiences.
- What are some specific practical things we can do to increase our
Come up with some practical steps to ignite or increase personal
a time of prayer focused around the discussion that has emerged. Here a few things
to pray for.
- For Clarity of Purpose.
Pray for people to hear God's
call afresh to their lives. Ask that He would renew their sense of purpose and
mission. Pray that they might really know that they are 'saved' and 'called' with
a holy calling. It's time to dream again and get some vision clarity.
- For Fresh Passion.
Pray that the Spirit of God
would ignite each person with fresh passion for fulfilling their purpose. Ask
to be filled again with the Holy Spirit.