‘Ok, Now You’re Starting to Scare Me’: Reflections on Misdirected Passion

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“Passion” is somewhat ambiguous, and can be defined in a few different ways.  It can mean:

  • “Suffering”; as in, The Passion of the Christ.
  • Strong love or sexual desire.
  • An intensity of emotion, affection, and enthusiasm towards something or someone.
Though I have written posts about the sufferings of Jesus, this post isn’t about that topic (directly).  Neither is it about sexual desire (thankfully).  I’m talking about the third option.  To clarify further, the (the one I’m using) definition of “passionate” is a bit tighter, meaning to be “compelled by an intensity of emotion, dedication, and enthusiasm towards something or someone.”  Of course, I’m not on the Oxford Dictionary committee, so you may be able to come up with a better way to define “passionate.”
An important thing to note about “passion” is that it’s neutral.  By “neutral,” I mean that its goodness is determined by its object.   Saying someone is passionate is like saying someone is “sincere.”  It begs the question,
 “What are you sincere about?”  God created emotions, affections, and intense desires, and he composed
humanity that they would be compelled by those inner stirrings.  Thus, no one is completely indifferent; however, personalities are different.  In some people, those intense desires don’t manifest themselves as visibly as the more “passionate” ones.  That’s what I mean by a passionate person–someone who is not a Clint Eastwood or a Ben Stein, but a Richard Simmons or a Steve Irwin.  (Turns out this is harder to define that I thought, but hopefully you get the gist.)  You know when you’re talking to a passionate person.  Their eyes light up and get real big, their tone gets louder and more enunciated, and they talk faster than normal.  It’s hard to get them to calm down once they get going about something.  They’re like a really complicated can of Pringles.
The second thing about being passionate is that it can be misdirected in destructive ways.  It is like the difference between a duckling falling to the ground from 10 feet and a puppy doing the same.  The lighter one will come out unscathed, but the puppy will fall hard (I have not experimented with this).  So I write this to those passionate people.  Your zeal is a good thing, so long as its cultivated in the right direction, and with humility.  Misdirected passion often manifests itself as unrighteous anger, bitterness, resistance to criticism, coarseness, quarreling, and blowing small things out of proportion.  Proverbs 25:28 says, “A person without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”  This truth should be re-emphasized to those of us with higher peaks.  Misdirected, uncontrolled passion makes us fall heavier rather than lighter.  It leaves us open for direct attacks from the Enemy.
In Romans 12: 9-13, Paul exhorts Christians, “Do not be slothful in zeal,” in the same place as “abhor what is evil; cling to what is good,” “be fervent in spirit,” and “seek to show hospitality.”  Essentially he says, “It’s good to get excited–even worked up.  Just make sure that your eyes get big about righteous things, and that your chest doesn’t puff out beyond what it needs for breathing.”  Passion is a God-created-beautiful aspect of humanity that, though distorted by the Fall and used for self-exaltation, is redeemed in Christ to be used for His kingdom and the gospel.  So, passionate Christian, before your head floats above the clouds like mine does when someone calls you passionate, consider again Who really warms your heart.

Written by keywoodblog

February 29, 2012 at 3:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Wrong link. What I meant to say was remove it from I have been collecting the violating sites together to take action and by mistake I posted you the wrong link.


    August 19, 2012 at 9:26 am

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