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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Passion vs. Purpose

It is possible to have passion without having a purpose? It is possible to have a purpose without the corresponding passion? I think these are two pretty important questions – since these two character traits are often missing in our daily lives – at least according to most folks who just aren’t sure about what life has for them. Passion is any compelling or powerful emotion – it is a desire. Look at that again – it is an EMOTION. How many times have we heard we should not rely upon our emotions to be the driving force for the things we say and do in life? If you are like me, it has probably come up a few times a week! Purpose is the reason for which something exists, or the reason we do something. When there is purpose, there is a defined or intended result of the action. For many, purpose is what allows them to “aim” at something – passion is what drives them toward the mark.

Righteous chews on wisdom like a dog on a bone, rolls virtue around on his tongue. His heart pumps God’s Word like blood through his veins; his feet are as sure as a cat’s….Wait passionately for GOD, don’t leave the path. He’ll give you your place in the sun while you watch the wicked lose it. (Psalm 37:30-31, 34)

Here we find a little dissertation by King David – starting with the sage advice to not be too overly concerned about the braggarts and not to get all caught up in the passion to know success regardless of the cost. The crux of the chapter is found way up in the fourth verse: Keep company with God, get in on the best! For David, he has come to the place of realizing the disadvantages of misplaced passion – the driving force which sometimes gets in the way of our purpose in life! He realizes the importance of being quiet before God – allowing him to do what needs to be done, not David being the one doing all the “doing”. To David, passion is a deceptive thing – it can drive us, but not always in the right direction. He sets out to give us the wisdom to understand our purpose, then to allow God to create the “right” passion to help us accomplish our purpose.

Righteous chews on wisdom like a dog on a bone – if you have ever seen a dog “worry” a bone, you know exactly what this passage means. Try to get the bone out of the mouth of the dog – go ahead, try! I think it may be a little tenuous at best to get your hand that close to its mouth! A dog has a passion to get every last particle of meat, grizzle, and flavor from the bone, does it not? In fact, give the dog enough time and it will chew away on the hardness of the bone until it can extract even the marrow! He chews on it, “worrying” the bone over and over until he gets everything possible! Now, doesn’t this also describe how God wants us to consider his Word? He wants us to “worry” it over and over until we get everything out of it possible to extract!

Look at what David describes next – the righteous enjoy some pretty “vital” living. When you put your whole self into getting as much out of God’s Word as possible, you find it “gets into your veins” – it courses through you and gives you vitality for living! Indeed, it gives you stability for life! Now, that sets the stage for us to consider where this “passion” thing comes into play with the “purpose” we have in life. When we fully understand our purpose – what it is God has called us to do, how he has called us to respond, what he expects from us – we pursue it with some diligence. When we don’t, we seem to wallow around in the mire a while. Purpose is the “reason” for something, why it exists in the first place. Knowing that we were created to worship God with our whole hearts, serve him with our entire mind, will, AND emotions, we might just see how “passion” is intermingled in “purpose”.

So, today’s character traits: Passion and Purpose. Knowing your purpose helps refine your passion. Knowing where to direct your passion helps stimulate you toward what it is you are purposed to do and be in Christ Jesus! Just sayin!