How many times have you heard the plea for Christians to be more passionate about their faith? Speeches and articles about zeal for God often leave us with burning questions and feelings of guilt because we aren’t sure if we are truly passionate about our faith. Being passionate about the faith is typically sold as a kind of excited restlessness deep in our hearts. Anxious excitement is certainly an important part of our zeal for God, but being passionate about our faith doesn’t always necessarily require a person to shout at the top of their lungs in teary-eyed joy.
Passion for the faith is well-described in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Hunger and thirst denote intense desire. You can be just as sure about your passion for the faith as you are about being hungry. If you’re not sure that you are passionate enough about your faith, ask yourself if you truly desire righteousness. Do you really want to be righteous in the sight of God?
A hungry heart is a sign of a healthy heart. Have you ever noticed that sickness often prevents feelings of hunger? When the body is sick, the body can lose its desire for food. Hunger is a sign of a healthy body just as hunger for righteousness is a sign of a healthy passionate heart. Blessed are those who deeply desire righteousness. Blessed are those who cannot survive without righteousness!
Desire naturally leads to action. It is not enough to be hungry. The desire to eat does not fill your stomach. If you desire food, you must do what is necessary to obtain it in order to be satisfied. Likewise, if we desire righteousness we must do what is necessary to obtain it. The desire for righteousness might be a sign of a healthy heart but it is not what makes the heart healthy.
Righteousness makes the heart healthy. Righteousness is what satisfies. Spending time in prayer, reading God’s Word, serving others, loving others, abiding in the will of God; these things are what make the heart healthy. Passion for God is not only made manifest in the feelings of the heart; it is shown and completed through our pursuit of righteousness.