Passion is defined as a powerful and compelling emotion of love, or hate. Therefore, what we are most passionate about greatly determines our decisions on matters and ultimately our actions. Whether these actions serve the desires of God are greatly based as to where our passions reside. Do we seek those things He seeks and desire those things He desires, or not? To best answer this question, we must consider our motivations:
Rejection and Ridicule: The fear of failure and rejection is a primary and powerful motivator for many. In fact, I used to fall into this category, and recall being applauded for it at work. It was almost a badge of honor to fear failing, because when this was the primary driver, failure was avoided at all costs – even to the sacrificial detriment of health and family. Just as long as the bottom line was prosperous. Obviously, this is not what the Bible teaches. We are not to sacrifice our families and health in order to avoid public rejection. Yet, how many of us have fallen into this trap? Thankfully, God never rejects us (Psalm 27:10). Instead, He stands with arms wide open to receive us and then help us in all our endeavors – all for His glory and our best.
Rewards and Recognition: The flip-side of the fear of rejection is the need for public recognition. Again, this is a motivation tied to how other people perceive us. People get themselves into insurmountable debt for example, just to impress others with their “stuff”. Additionally, we can begin desiring the praise of others for our works. Even though it’s natural and in many ways a positive trait to appreciate compliments for a job well done, it enters the “danger zone” when we begin to crave it. Unfortunately, the need for recognition can even make its way into the church. We see this point illustrated very well in the biblical account of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 4:36-5:2). Thankfully, with God there is no need to impress. He already loves us and will multiply our talents for His purposes when surrendered to Him.
Reconciliation and Restoration: Another passion many of us share is the need for peace. We struggle with worries, fears, anxieties and ambitions. Thus, many are driven to alcohol, sexual stimuli, drugs and other substitutions in order to cope with the demands of everyday life. However, with God, He reconciles our lives and restores peace to our souls – nothing else in this universe has the power to do that (John 14:27).
Application: “Destined To Decide” – 1 Corinthians 10:21-24
God promises to give us the desires of our heart, but this is when our desires are aligned with His. Therefore, we must analyze our passions. For whose benefit are they directed? To help us determine this we can consider if they promote clarity, closeness and connection, or distraction, distance and division with God and His purposes. We can not straddle the fence, remain lukewarm and be casual with our devotions. They are either with His, or against – which will we choose?