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When I was dating my wife Debra, I was so excited about being with her. I was eager to talk with her, be with her, and go off on adventures with her. I am still delighted that she is my wife. But I sometimes worry my beautiful wife may think I am too contented with her. I am surely tiptoeing on danger if I take her for granted. Does my contentment give me an excuse for being lackadaisical about our relationship?

As Christians, are we excited to belong to Jesus? Or are we just contented to be church goers?

Of course, excitement is a feeling or an emotion. We know emotions come and go, often because of circumstances. Where do we turn when our excitement has drained away and we are left with the day-to-day patterns? A faith dependent upon emotions will bottom out when hard times eventually arrive.

Are we so contented with our relationship with Christ, that our faith is a ho-hum contentment marked by satisfaction but not joy? Is contented faith acceptable to the Lord?  We are warned by Jesus, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev 3:16)

While we may be bored, apathetic or lukewarm in our faith towards Christ, that is not how the Lord considers you. The LORD is not content for you to wander away in sin or indifference. The LORD seeks after us. (Luke 19:10) Consider how Christ came to call us sinners, not the righteous. (Mt 9:13)

Today we use the word “passion” to describe our emotional intensity. But in our faith, we use the phrase “the passion of the Christ” to communicate the depths to which God is willing to go to redeem us from sin and to convey the intense commitment of His love for us. Jesus tells us that the LORD rejoices over you and every other sinner who repents and is saved (Luke 15:7,10, Zeph 3:14-17, Isa 62:5). Holy Week, or Passion week, is all about Christ Your Savior who loves you so much he is willing to die for you.

Do you feel like you are in a love affair with God? Do you have a contented faith where you are satisfied with just knowing who Jesus is? Is your faith excited about a what or a who?

Rather than speak about emotional excitement, the Spirit-inspired scriptures speak of rejoicing and joy. Do we rejoice in the love Christ pours into us? “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” (1 Pe 1:8, cf 1 Th 1:6–7)  We are to have joy and rejoice with all our being in the LORD (Zech 10:7, Isa 61:10, Ps 70:4).

Is the Lutheran pattern for faith to be mildly contented and satisfied with minimal investment or contact with the LORD? No. Pastor Martin Luther was driven by a passion to exalt and praise God. Listen to his prayer:  “Dear Lord God, I want to preach so that you are glorified. I want to speak of you, praise you, praise your name. Although I probably cannot make it turn out well, won’t you make it turn out well?” The passion of Luther comes across on almost every page that you read from him.

As Christians we have the absolute assurance and presence of Christ to save His people from their sins. We can be contented that Christ’s work is complete (Christ Alone) and that through trust in Christ we are redeemed (Faith Alone). This faith is a gift of love from God, not our effort (Grace Alone). Such was Luther’s rejoicing that we stay focused on Christ.    

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 15:5-6)

Your servant in Christ, Pastor Douglas