We can all think of someone who we would define as "passionate". They have an issue that they hold close to their heart and they advocate for it no matter what. Their feelings go beyond usual feelings of empathy or sympathy for others, and is turned into action. We can also think of someone who we would define as "excessively passionate". Someone who is argumentative with anyone who disagrees, someone who pushes their own opinions without stopping to hear what anyone else has to say. In fact, though we describe that person as passionate I think what we really mean is "stubborn" maybe even "self-centered" maybe even a little bit "extreme." It's hard to define passionate without having to include those other categories as well, and since I'm on a journey of passion I figured I need to define what passion is to me when I use it in my posts. A person who is argumentative, although seen by the world as a "passionate" person, to me does not define true passion. However, a person who longs to share information about the cause they hold so dear without forcing it on others, without condemning them for holding a different opinion, without becoming argumentative, that is true passion. A person who has true passion understands that the importance of the information they hold is more important than winning an argument.
Another aspect that is important to me when defining passion is the reasoning behind that passion. Maybe something tragic happened so they become passionate about making sure that never happens to someone else. Selfless truth. Maybe something amazing happened and truly changed their life and they want everyone else to share in it. Excited, sharing truth. On the other hand, maybe they are hopping on the bandwagon of a "popular" topic that caused them to feel something. Emotional truth. Maybe they feel that their way is the right way and that if you do it any other way you are wrong. Judgemental truth. There are so many other examples, but they all come down to this: motivation. What is the driving force behind your passion?
The world has a slightly different view of passion. Ok, maybe not different, so much as "falling a little short." The world sees passion as an emotion the drives someone to do something. And their actions will, hopefully, lead to something happening. Passion is the seed that brings change, but not because it is based on anything emotional. In fact, my recent post about Kony is a perfect example. It was one of those moments I felt emotionally charged over something and didn't care to see beyond my feelings. I still do believe with all my heart that we should be actively trying to bring restoration to those effected by Kony and the LRA. However, my feelings led me to share a resource that was actually harmful to the cause. It's a perfect example of why when it comes to issues that we feel led to, we need to seperate our emotions. Or we need to at least make sure that it is not our emotions controlling us. If we don't keep our emotions at bay it has the opportunity to destroy the work we can be doing for that cause. No, passion is not an emotion. Passion is a calling.
Like everything God has brought into our life, passion goes beyond just a feeling and into the actual heart and call of God. When we as Christians begin to feel passionate about an issue, I believe it is becasue we are feeling the heart of God lead us into a direction that He is calling us. A passion for missions. A passion for charity work. A passion for a new job. A passion for motherhood. Passion is God's way of leading us, directing us, and keeping us exactly where it is He wants us to be. Every Christian has a specific passion that they feel toward a specific thing, but all of our passions are rooted in one purpose: the love of God.
God's love restores, God's love heals, God's love saves. Each of us has a specific calling on our lives. If God called us all to the same passion then there would be some seriously neglected people on the world. We cannot all feel called to foreign mission when we have so many who are lost in our own backyard. We cannot all feel called to human trafficking and seek to free all 27 million who are enslaved when we have children who need us to teach them. We cannot all feel called to hunt out Kony and the members of the LRA and rescue the over 30,000 children they have kidnapped and trained as soldiers. These do seem like huge numbers, but there are 7 BILLION people in the world and over 2 billion of them have never even heard the gospel. No matter what our passion is, no matter what God calls us to do, it is rooted in this: bringing the love of God to the world. That is how we are going to actually bring a change. We could completely end slavery, we could shut down the NRA, we could adopt every orphan from around the world, end abortion, but it would all mean nothing if we did not do it with a heart for the gospel. It would mean nothing if we save these people from the temporary pain of this world, and leave them empty when it comes to the eternal saving grace of God our Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ.