Passion is a popular topic in the personal development space (otherwise known as self-help). There are shelves of books promising to help you ignite your passion, find your passion, fuel your passion, or simply follow your passion. Essentially the message always boils down to the point of doing what you love. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether this is good advice.
I’m more interested in seeing how it relates to our pursuit of God. After all, He’s the One who put such passions inside of us all. The question for me isn’t so much one of whether you should follow your passion, but rather, how can you use your passions to glorify God and further the mission of Christ?
I never cease to be amazed at the amazing palette from which God paints. Looking at nature in general, or the exotic animal kingdom in particular, leaves me in awe. There are such vast differences, a cornucopia of color, and a never-ending menu of behavior on display. As remarkable as all this is, more intriguing still is the number of differences that exist in the personalities of human beings. We are, after all, created in the very image of our Creator. The diversity of ways we reflect His character prove God is beyond comprehension. To think one being possesses in full the small pieces of gifts, talents, skills, and passions we employ as humans is breathtaking.
What we must recognize is the reason we possess these gifts. Since we were created in the image of God, it only follows we were given our passions and talents to glorify Him and further the mission He has given to us all. What other purpose would we have for the gifts He gave us but to point people back to the Giver Himself? The trouble is we tend to pursue our passions for selfish reasons. We use them to make a name for ourselves, generate income, or perhaps to prove we are better than others when it comes to a particular passion or skill. I would argue these to be the wrong goals. What we need to do is turn our selfish passions into selfless expressions for the glory of God.
When we see our passions as tools to be used for furthering the mission of Christ, it changes our lives. Not only is our selfish motivation replaced with a selfless mission, our selfish goals become selfless ideals. We pursue our passions because in doing so we can best point others to Jesus and demonstrate His love to all people. Gifted followers of Christ (and we are all gifted in multiple ways) are gifted for a reason. That reason is to reflect the character of God. Pursuing your passion is the wrong goal. Pursuing something for which you are passionate with the intent to glorify God is what we were created to do.
Redeeming our passion happens when we cease pursuing selfish outcomes and begin to use our passion in His service. We weren’t called to be the richest, the best, or most famous. We were called to deny ourselves and follow Christ. The first step is to surrender our passions to Jesus. Allow Him to use them for His glory. It’s not about us. It’s all about Him. Passion is a wonderful thing and part of God’s character. Let’s make certain we’re using our passions to achieve selfless, not selfish, goals. We owe it to the One who gave our passions to us.