Give me one pure and holy passion
Give me one magnificent obsession
Give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after You.
To know and follow hard after You
To grow as Your disciple in the truth
This world is empty pale and poor
Compared to knowing You my Lord
Lead me on and I will run after You
Lead me on and I will run after You.
I’m having a moment here.
Actually I’ve been having a moment for the last few years now–certainly for as long as I’ve had this blog.
I am not sure what has brought this on. It may be the result of changes and challenges in my life over the last few years–failed romantic pursuits, changes in my professional status, coming to terms with certain developmental issues in my life. It may be simply part and parcel of growing up and then just growing older. Or maybe it is a combination of all of the above.
At any rate, the upshot is that I am most certainly not the same person that I was when I first heard the worship song quoted above.
The song is entitled “One Pure and Holy Passion”. It was originally penned in 1992 by a fellow named Mark Altrogge. I first heard it performed by Steve Fee and Candi Pearson (now Mrs. Jonathan Shelton) at OneDay, a gathering of college students in the Memphis area which took place in summer 2000. The writeup from the back of the CD which was recorded at this event will give you an idea of what took place here:
On May 20, 2000, tens of thousands of college students gathered from across the nation and around the globe for a sacred assembly simply known as OneDay. Converging on the vast expanse of Shelby Farms, just outside of Memphis, TN, they came to pray, seeking the face of God for awakening in this generation. Yet, they came not just to pray prayers, but to offer their lives as worship before the living God, yielding gladly to the all-consuming purpose of making the name and renown of Jesus Christ known throughout the earth.
Some of you were present at this event, whether as a volunteer (as I was) or as a straight-up attendee. For me, this song was one of the high points of the entire event. It is a very short, sweet, and simple song, and I loved the idea of it–that I could know and follow hard after Christ, that if He would just lead me then I would run after Him. At the time I was taken with the idea that I would follow hard after Him, and that wherever He led I would run after Him with everything in me–in my youthful presumption I believed myself fully capable of pulling something like that off.
Now, however, I am a profoundly different person. I now see things in the cold light of the reality that I am a cripple who is incapable of running hard after Christ. Indeed I would not know anything of Christ at all if He did not take the initiative to reveal Himself to me, and I cannot follow after Christ unless He moves me Himself in the direction where He is going.
And I think that if we were all gut-level honest with ourselves, we would acknowledge that none of us is capable of knowing Christ apart from the revelation which He Himself has taken the initiative to give us, or of following Christ unless He moves us Himself.
I think that instead of saying that we will follow hard after Christ, we need to pray that He would take the initiative to move us where He wants us to go. We can’t do this thing on our own, as if He is out there somewhere and we are following after Him. We desperately need for Him to come to us and move us Himself.
So let us abandon the hubris of our youth that says we can live this Christian life on our own, that we can follow Christ in our own strength. Instead, let us acknowledge our brokenness. Let us acknowledge that we cannot follow Christ on our own, and let us pray that He would move us Himself, just as He has taken the initiative to reveal Himself to us.