I saw the movie. Mel Gibson laying on the platform; he is covered in blood; his eyes huge as he tries hard not to scream out in pain. He had been drawn and quartered. Now they have cut him open and they are pulling out his intestines. “It can all end.” Whispers the enemy. “It can all be over and you will feel no more pain.”
“Mercy!” They call for mercy in the crowd. He need only to ask his enemy for mercy and they would end his suffering. This enemy held his people captive. They raped and murdered his wife, slaughtered his father and brother and turned a friend to betrayal. The pain is unimaginable. He need only ask for mercy and it is all over. He takes a breath. The enemy quiets the crowd and announces that the prisoner has something to say. He takes another deep breath, looks up, and yells “FREEDOM!!!!”
I have seen the movie a thousand times, and I get a lump in my throat every time. I don’t know a single man who does not look at the character of William Wallace and long to have just an ounce of his spirit. The devotion he has for his family. The devotion he has for his brothers and his country. We long to be wild. We are desperate to have something meaningful to live for. To be dangerous. To put our own safety behind us and to die for something greater than ourselves. To shout “FREEDOM!!!” in the face of our enemy and truly know that we have broken the bonds he has tried so hard to ensnare us with.
We learn about another man who was given an opportunity to live for his country. To bring freedom to his people. To have passion for something greater than himself. In 2 Kings 13, Israel was under the oppressive rule of Aram. Their kings had lead the Israelites to leave the devotion of the Lord and follow other gods. Elisha, the prophet of God was dying and Jehoash, the king of Israel, went to Elisha before he died to get a blessing from him. His hopes were to get the prophet of the Lord to declare that they would be rescued. Elisha directed the king shoot an arrow from the window.
“The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha Declared. You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”
Then he said, “Take the arrows…Strike the ground.”
Now you would think that if the Lord has promised victory over your enemy and freedom from your captives you would celebrate. You would shout for joy. You would take those arrows and pound the ground in victory. The king tapped the ground 3 times and the man of God was angry.
“You should have struck the ground five or six times then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only 3 times.”
The king looked for an easy way out. He had no passion. He had no devotion. He was not there to declare his allegiance to God and his country. He was there to get what he could from a dying man that was known to have the power of God behind him. His true intentions came out in his response to God’s blessing.
As much inspiration as I get when I watch William Wallace fight for his freedom, I get just as much revulsion from the King of Israel as he throws his freedom away. History speaks of great men (and women) and shines brightly or poorly upon them. Your actions and choices leave a mark upon the world. God calls you to leave his mark upon the world. He desperately wants to make a difference through you. He wants to use you to change lives of the people you touch. He wants to use you to change the culture of the community around you.
What mark are you leaving upon the world?
Ask yourself this question and answer it honestly. Are you leaving the mark that you believe God created you to make? Can you define the mark that you are leaving? Can you define the mark that you want to leave? Does your mark move beyond your couch?
We were all created for a purpose. Every person, in all of history, was fearfully and wonderfully made. God would not have made you if he did not have a purpose for you. Every person has had the ability to affect change in the world around them. My prayer is that you would connect with God to see what his purpose for you is. What mark does he want to leave through you?
Jesus warned that following after him would not be easy. Any change that he makes through you will be difficult. You will not find it sitting in your living room. You will not find it on your tablet or your phone. You will likely need to look for it and trust that God will lead you to it. When you find your passion, you will learn the true meaning of struggle. You will face opposition. You will face defeat. You may be beaten and bloodied, but the opportunity to leave a mark for Jesus is so great that you are willing to do whatever it takes to see God use you. When you find your purpose, you will truly understand passion.
Do not be surprised if you find at times that you have lost your way. You may even find that you have given up completely. The struggle is hard and we have an enemy that will stop at nothing to see us fall short of God’s purpose for us. It is with tears that I recently saw the complacency that I had fallen into. In fact it is a daily struggle not to cover myself in complacency, because I find comfort here.
The Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the bonds that the enemy has placed around me. The binding of fear. Fear of pain. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Fear of exposure. Fear of hardship and suffering. It has been suffocating me and slowly pulling the life out of my soul. And I never saw it and did not notice it happening. Slowly, I became comfortable in the mundane. Living day by day and ignoring the call of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s call is scary. It means leaving the security and comfort that the mundane provided. But there is no passion in mundane.
William Wallace found his passion. He struggled, fought, and died for the passion that burned inside of him. Martin Luther struggled as he left the priesthood and opened the eyes of the world to God’s word. The colonists faced death not just for themselves but for their entire families by declaring independence from England. The USCT (African American Soldiers in the Civil War) faced opposition from the South as well as other members of the Northern army, but they fought passionately for their freedom. Oskar Schindler gave up his fortune and risked certain death to save the Jews working in his factory. They all had to fight, suffer and face great risk, but they changed lives and they changed the culture of the community around them.
Single parents do this every day. They go without so their children can thrive. Soldiers run into battle. Teachers spend extra time with students who don’t have the help at home. Doctors provide medical care in countries that have no medical resources. These are every day ordinary people who follow after their passion. They don’t often see the mark that they are leaving, but their actions create change.
If you can’t find your passion, don’t worry. God often asks us to move first and trust him to bring passion to us. He told Abram to leave his home and his people and go to a place that he would show him. He told David that he would be king, but provided no avenue for him to follow. Peter was given the task of carrying on Jesus’ ministry, but had no clue what that even meant. They trusted God to lead them where he wanted to be. The same is true for us. Move! Find your passion. Create change. You never know what God can do through you until you give him an opportunity to use you.
Treasurer, Breathing Life International