Brazil's passion and Germany's discipline...

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.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.


wow... so there is biblical relevance to all the World Cup matches I've been watching.....

Thank you for this, Pastor Tim. One of my first thoughts was, "I agree - I'm jaded. And I don't want to be that way. So how do I get true passion?"

For those who are thinking the same way, I think the solution to jadedness is this: Stop pursuing "passion" as the end goal. God has put plenty of things right in front of our faces that require patient discipline, and that's what has to be pursued. The guy who is always finding (or trying to find) something to be excited and passionate about really isn't passionate about any of it at all. It's a flash in a pan. But, if we're willing to discipline ourselves in a few areas, real passion might actually be cultivated or discovered in the process.

Example: The guy who is excited about learning a new instrument but gives up after a few lessons and then gets into aquariums, but quits after the algae starts growing, and then cars, but quits when it gets too expensive to buy new parts. This guy has never disciplined himself enough to be passionate about anything. But the guy who finishes what he starts will get good at it - then who cares if he's "passionate" about it or not? He's got something to show for all his hard work...and that's satisfying either way.

Stop pursuing "passion" as the end goal.

That is exactly right.

I've seen a lot of athletic (and other) contests that were simply decided by those who decided to show up and play the entire game. On the flip side, passion can sometimes win games thought to be unwinnable, but more often it, like its relational/sexual counterpart, tends to fizzle out and result in humiliation and "playing down to the level of the opposition."

A German coworker of mine noted that his son cried for the Brazilians because they were being beaten so badly. And I've got to wonder, suspecting that the Brazilians really aren't THAT bad, whether there was something else in play. Either way, it still comes down to character and showing up.

Thanks, Ross; I posted it. Love,

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