“If we are to progress in godliness we need to fan the flames of a holy passion.” Almost thirty years ago, this sentence from the pen of R.C. Sproul gripped my heart. So when I heard of R.C. Sproul’s homegoing to heaven, I immediately thought of my personal favorite of his books. My mind still sees where I was sitting when I read the first chapter. Here’s what I wrote about it almost three years ago:
This morning, I found myself stirred to take off my shelf a copy of my favorite R.C. Sproul book, One Holy Passion: The Consuming Thirst to Know God (now renamed Enjoying God: Finding Hope in the Attributes of God). I remember buying this book in the fall of 1988 at our Bible college bookstore. It immediately impacted me and, since then, has become one of my all-time favorite books on the attributes of God. Here are some thoughts from Sproul about the matter of living with one consuming passion to know God, which results in following Christ.
A passion is a strong feeling, an emotion that is packed with intensity. At times it carries a sense of urgency.
Not all passions are holy. As fallen human beings we are often trapped in unholy passions. Our feelings are mixed. Then the Holy Spirit quickens us to a new life with new passions. But many of the old passions remain. We struggle with our feelings. Our affection for the things of God is locked in mortal combat with earthly concerns.
If we are to progress in godliness we need to fan the flames of a holy passion. We need a single-minded desire to know God. We follow Jesus who went before us. He was moved by a single passion—to do the will of His Father. His meat and drink were to do His Father’s will. Zeal for His Father’s house consumed Him. He was a man of holy destiny with a face set as a flint.
Jesus knew the Father. His knowledge of God was so deep, so profound that His entire earthly life reflected a single holy passion. Jesus revealed the Father to us and called us to imitate His own pursuit. His priority is set before us—to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
We are to press into the Kingdom of God, to storm it if we must, to seize the opportunity to know God. This quest is not casual. The pursuit is not cavalier. We are to be driven by a holy passion.
To know God better is the driving desire of the Christian life that God began in me in the early months of 1984 and, therefore, studying the attributes of God brings me particular joy. I’m thankful for the ministry of R.C. Sproul, who did everything in his power to exalt the Lord before our mind’s eye.
The One Holy Passion video series is available on the Ligonier website.