Passion is a word that gets a lot of bad press. It’s often misunderstood. To some, the word passion brings back memories of illicit desires at drive-in movies with a high school flame. To others it evokes images of a murder committed in a fit of rage. It is true that passion is behind almost every sin.
But, passion is morally neutral. It is simply a strong feeling or deep longing for something. In its essence, passion is the fuel that ignites the fires of our meaningfulness, the force that drives the soul, and the burden that compels the individual to action. Passion is a clearly defined reason for living. It moves ordinary people beyond ordinary human activities. It causes people to make a difference in business, sports, academia, science, politics, and ministry. Some of these people explode like a Molotov cocktail to inflame a whole generation. Others burn quietly in the furnaces of everyday life, unknown to all but their immediate acquaintances—yet making a difference in their world.
“What distinguishes the empire builders in the end is their passion. They devote their lives to an idea that in time becomes an ideal. More important, they inspire others to buy into their dream. All are out, in one way or another, to change the world,” wrote Michael Meyer, The Alexander Complex. G.W.F. Hegel in Philosophy of History was right when he stated, “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”
Passionate people never work for money. This is not to say that they do not earn a great deal of money. But the likes of William Shakespeare, Thomas Edison, Estee Lauder, Walt Disney, Sam Walton, and Bill Gates, who all became wealthy, were inspired not by money but by a drive to fulfill an inner longing that would make a difference in this world. Passionate people don’t just get a job. A job is something one does for money. Passion is something one does because they are inspired to do it. And passionate people would do it even if they were paid nothing beyond food and the basics. They would do it because it is their life.
Passion is not something we work up, but something planted within our being. Passion is the God-given ability to feel so strongly about something that it causes us to move toward the object of desire. Call it what you want—urge, burden, compulsion, force—passion originates from God. Passion is the birthplace of a dream, the trailhead of a new path God calls us to follow.
Significant passion originates with God and takes root in receptive and obedient hearts. Passionate people have their heart engaged in their work. Their work moves them like a lover ignites their soul. Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, had as his life’s motto: “May my heart break for the things that break the heart of God.” Here was a man passionate about the things that moved God. He was excited and incited about caring for the hurt and wounded people of this world. He was engaged. Despite the magnitude of helping a starving world with physical and personal struggles, Bob Pierce gave his heart and soul to stamping out world hunger.
Passion comes from the heart of God to embrace our hearts, and it compels us to act. Passionate people translate their devotion into action. They discover, as we must, that a passion unchanneled soon dissipates. They know that passion without action is just a dream. Action without passion is drudgery. But passion with action is sheer delight.
You can decide now that you are going to let passion into your life. You are every bit as capable of living with passion as is a president, an Olympian, or a Nobel Prize winner. Passion is not a privilege of the fortunate few; it is a right and a power of every human being. You can show the world all you are capable of, all that, deep down, you know you can be.