If you’ve ever seen Casino Royale, then you have a great idea of what new Christians are like.
In this prequel to the classic series, James Bond is sent on his first mission as a double-0 agent. He has finally crossed the threshold into official agent status – a huge honor that is not to be taken lightly. He’s expected to behave a certain way and to maintain a higher standard of behavior.
The error bubbles to the surface quickly: he’s completely reckless. He doesn’t care about following protocol, dealing appropriately with enemies (or friends, for that matter), and he is completely headstrong. He is passionate, but for the wrong things. He shoots a propane tank, thoughtlessly killing several men just to complete his “covert” mission.
I remember when my best friend in college became a Christian, the unbridled passion he had. He was filled with such a sudden rush of truth that all he wanted to do was bash everyone over the head with it. He described it this way:
It was like Jesus handed me a sword when I decided to follow Him. I ignored His pleas to show me how to use it, and instead immediately began swinging it wildly, cutting down people everywhere I went.
Now, my friend is one of the strongest and most passionate Christians I know. But at the time, his actions were a product of ignorance, although his motives were born out of a passion for the Lord.
These are the things, as believers, that we need to outgrow. Still, there’s something exotic and fascinatingly unique about this behavior… something that I think everyone can learn from.
The great thing about the newly-crowned 007 is that he was incredibly skilled – a century-dormant bomb with a finally lit fuse. Nothing would stop him, because he furiously fought for his cause. People were drawn to his passion, even though it was ultimately his lack of control that was his undoing.
A buddy of mine has just recently started coming to church. Being raised Catholic, this is a totally new and exciting time for him. While talking to a coworker of ours, a professing Christian, it became clear that he was struggling with being disobedient to the Lord, yet he wasn’t regularly reading his bible. Having already learned a lot from our pastor, my friend blurted out, “YOU GOTTA’ READ THE BOOK!”
I couldn’t help but smile. After all, it was exactly what I was thinking. But what really impressed me was not the accurate spiritual diagnosis, but the passion with which he delivered the appropriate prescription.
The awesome thing about new Christians is that they are unhindered. Their passion is fresh and pure, unburdened by heavy theology, church rules, and years of persecution. They’re just fired up by the sheer idea of standing for truth and fighting the good fight. They’re passionate about the simple ability to obey the Lord, no matter what. They’re unyieldingly grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice.
I’m constantly humbled watching new believers. I struggle with taking unhealthy pride in the amount of knowledge I’ve absorbed since becoming a Christian (though it’s definitely good to foster my spiritual gifts). But the raw feral passion of the new believer constantly evades seasoned veterans of the Church. Knowledge is to be treasured, surely. But there’s no substitute for having an unshakable love-grip on the Gospel. That kind of passion makes me jealous – in a good way. It causes me to get some perspective and remember why I believe in Jesus in the first place.
Ultimately, there is a desired balance between prudent experience-based Christian living and wild, passionate and reckless belief. I pray we can all find that balance. New believers, figure out how to harness and direct your passion without losing it. Seasoned Christians, seek that fireball passion that penetrated your very speech as a new believer.
Here’s my tongue-in-cheek tagline: Grab a gun and start shooting propane tanks. Just do it prayerfully.