“Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your truth, we wait eagerly for you; for your name and renown are the desire of our souls.”
For 24 years, Isaiah 26:8 has been the banner over the Passion Movement. It has flown over years of plenty. It has flown over years of rest. It has flown over faith-filled fields and packed stadiums. It has flown over Kampala and Kiev, from Jakarta to Japan. It has flown from Austin, to Memphis, to Sherman, TX, and has most recently soared above Mercedes-Benz Stadium as we head back to the Benz for Passion 2022. What is so special about this verse, and why has it stood the test of time as our anchor and motivation? Let me give you 7 reasons that are found directly in the text.
This verse starts with a declaration. One word before the first comma. And it changes everything. That word is “yes.” Why does this verse and consequently Passion start with yes? Because it’s a posture of openness. A posture of willingness. A posture of “Here I am. Send me!” (Isa. 6:8) It’s a verbal commitment that our hearts are open, our minds are ready, and our hands are on the table. Whatever comes next, we are going to start with YES. But what are we saying yes to?
The reason we are confident in our “yes” is because we know who we are saying yes to – the Lord. There is no other but Jesus. He is our rock, our refuge, the very image and fullness of God (Col. 1:15,19). He is the author and perfecter of our faith, and as such, He is the initiator and the beneficiary of our “yes.” We aren’t saying yes to our own efforts, or our own strengths. We say yes to Him. We say, “Yes, Lord.”
We know that it is only by grace that we have been saved (Eph. 2:8). Not by our works, but by His blood alone. However, once we’ve become new creations, we aren’t called to sit on the sidelines. We have a part to play in this Kingdom story. We are the arrows of God launched into a dark and desperate world. We are in motion. We are meant to leverage our lives for what matters most and we are committed to taking this “yes, Lord,” to our campuses, our colleges, our friends, neighbors, and families. We are “walking.”
- in the way of your truth,
Let’s be honest for a moment. It’s not all that hard to get fired up and start walking. Over our 24 years, we’ve seen it time and time again. Setting off and moving in God’s strength is exciting. But if we’re going to keep walking, if we’re going to be faithful over flashy and if our flame is going to burn beyond our short, snap of a life on planet earth, we need some guidance. Some guardrails. Some “bumpers” that keep us moving in the right direction. For Passion, we want to be walking people. But no matter where we go, we want to be sure that we’re walking “in the way of your law.” Not because the law is legalistic. God’s instructions are for our flourishing. He is not restricting us, He is releasing us into true freedom and joy. We are kingdom people on the move, but only in one direction – the way of His Scripture.
- we wait eagerly for you;
I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t we just go over the fact that we’re moving, walking, working people with a fire to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth? Now we’re supposed to wait? The answer to both questions is: yes. This flip is what we’ve always prayed would make Passion distinct. We are workers. We are walking. We are moving and growing and shaping and planning and calling and doing everything we can to invite a generation of 18-25 year olds into an encounter with the Lord. But we are also waiting, because “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” That’s the secret. If it’s not God, we don’t want it. If His Spirit isn’t in and on it, bringing it to life, we don’t want to put our effort behind it. We position ourselves as we are able, but we wait on the power and the purpose of a great and glorious God. Why?
- for your name and your renown
Have you ever wondered why Isaiah puts both words here? Why does he list “your name” AND “your renown”? It could have very easily been just one or the other. For us, these two words have always communicated the dual-natured plan of the Gospel – that it would transform both inward and outward, both us and our communities. Any of us who call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Rom 10:13). The name of Jesus has resurrected our souls and has brought us from death to life. But it was never meant to just stay inside us; it was meant to move out. That’s why it’s also about His renown. It’s the noise of His voice calling us up out of the grave AND the reverberation that shifts a campus, a community, a nation. It’s His name and His renown.
- are the desire of our souls.
At the end of the day, William Blake said it best, “We become what we behold.” And at Passion, we behold Jesus. We don’t give our lives and our gifts and our efforts for any person’s name, any stage, any stadium. We aren’t looking for any fancy award, or any human recognition and accolade. We exist because our hearts cannot imagine another desire better than that of Jesus. That desire fuels us. That desire makes us say yes. It makes us call out His name – LORD. It makes us start walking, it keeps us walking in the way of His law. That desire echoes with the Spirit inside of our hearts and it amplifies the fame of Jesus which rings over every hill, valley, mountain, and ocean. It is one name. One person. It is Jesus.