Listening to the talking heads doing a postmortem on Brazil's epic loss to Germany last night, I was fascinated to hear former soccer heroes lampooning Brazil's "passion." They kept saying things like, "it takes more than passion to win a football game" and "Brazil's emotions came up short against Germany's discipline."
For years I've been embarrassed for all the Christian men who take every conceivable opportunity to announce to the world what they're passionate about. I'm waiting for one of them to tell me he's passionate in bed with his wife, but of course that is what is never said. Instead these men simper and coo about their great passion...
in worship; their passion for liturgy, coffee, fixies, basil, old Toyota pickups, and Keds; the passion they and their wife "share" for the gay community, biracial adoption, and "city ministry;" their church's enormous passion for all the orphans of the world...
Truth is, men who can't stop yapping about their passion are sated, fagged, surfeited, jaded, and blasé. They're buried under their lassitude, apathy, languor, and listlessness—in bondage to their ennui. In other words, all their talk of "passion" is aspirational—including their supposed "passion for Jesus."
Like the semi-finals of the World Cup, at the Great Judgment Seat of God talk of passion won't cut it. What will be necessary is fruit. Good deeds. Faith working through love.
The Reformed doctrine of justification by faith alone is not justification by faith by itself. Every man whose faith is living purifies himself. So when I hear a young Christian man publicly testify that he has a passion for purity, sanctification, and holiness, I'll not be embarrassed, but proud. The Holy Spirit warns us that without holiness no man will see God.
Think of the Brazil-Germany debacle as God taking the world stage to warn postmodern effeminates that the undisciplined man will get nothing with his Neymar caps and chest-thumping and diving and tears. It will take the obedience of faith, starting with repentance and faith in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.