November 15, 2006, 8:00 am
Filed under: Leadership

By Walt Alexander
Last week, we talked about intensity and about how we often fail to be filled with zeal for the Lord and passion for God. And if you are like me, the thought of being spat out of Jesus’ mouth for not being intense is quite frightening.

So you may ask yourself. How can I – a lukewarm, apathetic young man – cultivate Godly intensity? Here are a few thoughts I had with the help of last’s weeks comments.

1. Believe the gospel.
The gospel articulates some harsh, strong realities. It says there is a God who is the Creator of everything, the Sovereign Ruler of everything, who is completely holy (without sin). It also says that man is completely sinful and is opposed to God in his flesh (Rom 8:8). Man is without God and without hope. Man is deserving of eternal destruction from God for his sins and will receive it if he does not submit to the gospel (2 The 1:8). There is one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:5). Only Jesus is both God and man. Only Jesus perfectly obeyed God (2 Cor 5:21). Only Jesus died on a cross. Only Jesus is the Way to heaven (Jn 14:6).

This gospel – and its profound implications – should awaken us from our confused stupor.

2. Live the gospel.
Live the gospel. Living the gospel means we must apply the gospel to our lives daily. It means we must daily recount our sinfulness and hopelessness before a holy God. It means we must remind ourselves that He – the sinless Son of God – died in our place for our sin. This should awaken us to live lives of  passionate worship to Jesus.

Also, the gospel must make us ruthlessly intense about our sin, always striving to kill the sin in our hearts. However, we kill sin not because it makes us righteous but because we are righteous. We kill sin not to earn God’s favor but to please God whose favor is on our life.

Reach out. Knowing that the gospel is true and that it controls everything. Every human being will one day go to either of two places: heaven or hell. No one is exempt. In fact, every human, in his sin and rebellion against God, is headed straight for hell with all his heart (as Mr. Kittrell reminded us on Sunday). Do you believe this? If you do, your life will be gripped by an intense passion to see others know Him, the only Savior from wrath and the only satisfying Treasure.

3. Read the Word.
This should really be throughout the two previous ones. Nevertheless, continue reading the Word. Intensity is created by faith and faith is created by reading the Word of God. Romans 10:17 states: “Faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” The Word is the way to know God. Don’t be satisfied with vague, passionless prayers. Know God. Read His Word.

4. Read Christian biographies.
Travis (the hefty guy in the pictures) reminded us that Christian biographies serve to fuel intensity like few other things. So let’s read them. Or listen to Piper’s Of Whom The World Is Not Worthy series.

Here are a few suggestions:
Jonathan Edwards: A Life by George Marsden
Spurgeon: A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore
The Forgotten Spurgeon by Iain Murray
‘John Owen’ by John Piper (from Men Of Whom The World Is Not Worthy)
The Shadow of the Almighty by Elisabeth Elliot
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton
Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography by Iain Murray

5. Look around you.
Hebrews 13:7 reads, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” Look around at all the leaders around you, like C.J. Mahaney, John Piper, Al Mohler, Bill Kittrell, Howard Varnedoe, Matthew Lindsay, Mike Plewniak, your care group leaders, your father (if he is a believer). Look at them and consider their life. Consider the outcome of their faith in God. Consider the outcome of their lifestyle. And imitate them. See, we don’t have be smart or inventive or creative (sigh of relief). We get to follow them. We  get to study their lives and imitate them. Doing this will definitely spur you on to greater intensity for the Lord.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

thanks walt! that was great man! I just never thought about reading Christian biographies before, but I think I might man. Ever since Tony Carter’s message on Reformed Theology, it has been on my heart to read up on one of those guys. Thanks for the reminder!

Comment by mini mike

Mini Mike, I think this is the best place to start learning about the heroes of the faith. John Piper has compiled a list of men who truly counted all else as loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus. I’d recommend starting with Adoniram Judson, David Brainerd or George Mueller.

Comment by Travis

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