WHAT IS PASSION?
The Biblical word for passion is zeal. It is related to strong devotion to some activity, vision or goal that leads to action. It is not passive. Rather it is passionate.
WHY PEOPLE LACK PASSION?
John Maxwell, the great leadership guru, lists some reasons why people lack passion:
• Apathy Tends to Increase with Age – The word ‘apathy’ is made up of ‘a,’ meaning without and ‘pathos,’ meaning passion. So apathy is simply ‘without passion.’ The older we become, the more we tend to drift into apathy.
• They have allowed Something Precious to become Familiar – They have lost their first love, like the church at Ephesus in the book of Revelation.
• They do not have a Purpose Beyond Themselves – We need to be involved in something bigger than ourselves.
WHERE DOES PASSION COME FROM?
Some People Seem to be Born with It. The Apostle Paul was one such man. Even before his conversion, when he was a Pharisee, he described himself as ‘zealous towards the Lord,’ with a passion that drove him to persecute the early Christians (Acts 22:3). See also I Corinthians 15:58, Galatians 6:9 and Romans 12:11.
Let us look at the modern example of Vince Lombardi, the famous football coach of the first two Super Bowl winners, the Green Bay Packers. Lombardi’s son wrote that this father was described as having “the zeal of a missionary. And although the Packers held a special place in his heart, my father’s passion and enthusiasm extended into all corners of his life. He could get excited about dinner at a good restaurant, a sunset, Christmas with family, and especially, a game of golf.” It seems that Vince Lombardi was born with a passion for life.
All People can Acquire, Learn and Develop Passion. A Biblical example of this would be Gideon. When you first meet Gideon in Judges 6, even though he is described by the angel as ‘a mighty man of valor, at that time he hardly had any passion for fighting. However, in time, Gideon’s passion developed, and he goes out to lead his people to defeat the marauding Midianites.
Lombardi’s quarterback Bart Starr would be a modern-day example. Starr wrote, “I wasn’t mentally tough before I met Coach Lombardi. I hadn’t reached the point where I refused to accept second best. I was too nice at times . . . . To win you have to have a certain amount of mental toughness. Coach Lombardi gave me that. He taught me you have to have a flaming desire to win.” Bart Starr had to develop passion and zeal.
WHAT ARE THE KEYS TO CHRISTIAN PASSION?
You Generalize Before You Specialize We need to develop a general passionate approach to life. Ecclesiastes 9:10 declares, ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” See also Colossians 3:23.
If you want to develop passion, begin with the small everyday things in your life and do them with all your might, whatever there are.
Passion Relates to Your Gifting and Calling For the Christian, passion is related to your calling, your giftedness, your purpose in life. No one is meant to do everything because no one is gifted to do everything. I Corinthians 12 speaks about the church being a body and like the various parts of the body, we each function differently. What are you gifted at and called to do? Pursue them with passion.
Passion Flows Out of a Kairos Time with the LordKairos times are times of encounter with the Lord that can set a new direction to your life and ignite a new passion within you. This can be seen with Moses at the burning bush.
In 2004, I was watching President Ronald Regan’s funeral on television. I suddenly realized Reagen was 69 years old when he had first run for President. He had been successful as a film actor and later as a two-time governor of the state of California, and at 69 he decided to run for President. As I watched, I remembered I too was 69 years of age. At that time, it was like the Lord spoke to me saying, “Ronald Reagan took on a new challenge at 69 years of age. How about you? Are you willing to take on a new challenge?” I replied, “Yes, Lord,’ and out of this kairos time came the vision of establishing, along with other brothers, a new ministerial network called ‘Omega Team.’
Kairos times can ignite a new vision, fueling a passion to make it happen. That initial passion then needs to be fed with a strong devotional life, time in the Word, in prayer, in praise and worship, in fellowship with others, and with the Holy Spirit.
The Starting Point is Intentionality. Passion is not primarily an emotion, although emotions can fire it up. It is primarily a decision; a choice followed by a commitment to go for it.
A man and his grandson were sitting on a verandah when a rabbit hopped past. Their dog immediately took off after the rabbit. With all the commotion, every other dog in the area joined in the hunt. The rabbit was so fast and cunning that it managed to elude the dogs for several hours. One by one the hounds gave up and wandered home. However, the first dog continued and never gave up chasing the rabbit.
The young boy asked his granddad, “How come all the other dogs gave up except ours?” The granddad sagely replied, “Because he saw the prize.” The other hounds never actually saw the rabbit, but the number one dog did. (Story is taken from the book ‘The Stolen Cow)
When we keep our eyes on the prize, we will continue to press on as Paul did. He stated, “I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 3:14.
ONE LAST QUESTION
Do you have passion? If so, go for it. If you do not, realize that you can acquire, learn and develop it, if you intentionally decide to pursue it. Remember, feelings follow faith, so do not wait until you feel like it. Step out and live life to the fullest with passion. Remember the words of Colossians 3:23 which states, “Whatever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord and not to men.” Have passion and zeal for God and His kingdom.
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