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How God Uses Our Passions To Bring Glory To Himself

God's word tells us in, Phillippians 4:8, that whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. This scripture resonated in my life, except for my passion for the outdoors, which seemed to put up a wall. Like many others, I feared my passion for hunting, fishing, shooting, and other outdoor activities would become an idol competing with my affection for and walk with God. I spent years trying to witness and minister to people following the guidelines of the church and various books. Somehow, there was a sense of guilt and conflict when enjoying the outdoor activities which stole some of the joy from that witnessing. I do not mean to imply that these methods of themselves are wrong. They have worked for many years and offered a measure of success for me, but never fully satisfied that longing to share the Lord in all His fullness. What I would like to share with you is the change God brought into my life as I searched the scriptures seeking His will.

As I read Psalm 139:13-16, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were writen in your book before one of them came to be." I could see that this God who formed me and knit me in my mother's womb, also gave me the abilities and skills and desires to bring fulfillment and purpose in my life and bring glory to Him. Eventually I became aware that these talents, skills and abilities which God gave me attracted others in a way which other forms of witnessing did not.

Participating in the various outdoor activities provides and open door to develop a relationship with others which allows me to witness of God's love for them. But, how was I to tell them I am a Christian and wanted them to have that eternal life without scaring them off? Then I realized that each time I went to the range I should wear some clothing which identifies my faith. What happened next blew me away. As people would come to me to help them shoot they would begin asking me about my faith. Then I said to myself, "This is a lot more effective than knocking on doors," and it opened a whole new way of witnessing for me. I changed my shooting from Friday evening to Saturday's at noon because that's when most of the people were there.

James 4:3 tells us "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." That often steers us away from using those abilities and talents the Lord has given us when we receive pleasure from them. But, you see, I discovered that God had given me those passions and desires for the outdoors that I might use them for His Glory. Psalm 37:3-4 "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." became an assurance that the Lord wants us to have our desires so long as they do not interfere with our obedience to Him.

The central theme of the Bible is the relationship between our professed love of God/Jesus and the love we manifest toward others. Before Jesus returned to heaven He commanded thos who were there, and all who would follow, to "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." Mark 16:15. Throughout the New Testament we see examples of how the Lord used various talents along with the gifts of the Holy Sprit to accomplish that command. We rejoyce that Jesus established the church as His Body, with each of us different parts and we cannot forsake the assembling of ourselves together for the regular worship times. We are thankful that He offes so many ways for us to reach out of that body to win others.

Three keys for this to be successful:

First and foremost; God has to be the Number One passion in your life.

Second; God has to be in control of whom He puts in your life.

Third; We have to love people and see them the way God sees them!

Mike Scambray, Outdoor Edge Ministries

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