by Brendan Prout
*This articles was originally featured on Pastor Brendan's personal blog. You can find it by clicking here.
There have been times when I’ve seen fellow believers become absolutely convicted that having passion for God meant they couldn’t have any passion for anything else in their lives; this has often meant they’ve tossed aside pursuits, possessions, and relationships for the sake of concentrating solely on Christ.
While this can sound commendable and certainly scripturally justifiable from one perspective, it is often the result of a decision that is malformed, premature, and short-lived.
I’ve seen many friendships come to a close as a result of intense disagreements over what is or what is not a godly pursuit in life, especially when the one person’s convictions are being thrust upon the other’s way of life without regard to the unique work God might be doing in that person, differently than He is working in them.
The truth is that we are indeed uniquely and individually created, and it’s the passions that God puts in us – these things we value and enjoy – that serve to help define who we are as His creations.
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Everything that really matters about us—our character, what we do, what we choose, what we value, what we love, what we fear, what we hate—flows from our heart."
We are so wonderfully and intricately made, by God, to value many things. But God does not call every single one of us to throw away everything in our lives – our jobs, our relationships, our likes and dislikes – for the sake of being closer to Him. Otherwise, He’d call us home at the moment of conversion, if the things of this life truly didn’t matter. Instead, He shows us that He is actively involved and concerned with the things of this life, because what we do here does indeed echo in eternity.
Our passion for God must be foremost in our lives, and we must allow that godly passion to inform, influence and inspire all our other passions. When we do that we find God’s purpose in our design, in the person God has created us to be, with gifts and talents and abilities and experiences that He will use for His glory in a completely original way, not like every other person who has ever been made.
Some passions do need to fall away because they’re clearly not right for us; they may be harmful to ourselves or others, or they just may not be the best use of our time and energies. Some passions find new purpose and new direction when suddenly we see how God could use us to influence a part of our world that formerly we thought we just did as a hobby! Some new passions are birthed in us, as we sense God’s heart for parts of our world that He wants us to think and act differently about.
The point is that our passions are part of us and part of how God wants to use us. 1 Corinthians 10:31 instructs us that whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we are to give glory to God. As a pastor friend of mine likes to say, there’s a way to eat a burrito that is glorifying to God. (Thank you God for that!!) And there’s a way to do so that is not. Passions and pursuits are not a bad thing; the Lord can and will use them for His purposes. It’s up to us to ensure our priorities are straight, that our passions flow from love for God and love for one another.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.