December 15, 2017
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Your Personal Passion Print E-mail
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. - Psalm 37:4

Passion is more than just a powerful emotion, such as love, joy, hatred or anger. It is the driving force of your enthusiasm and the undergirding of your purpose. Understand your passion and you will know the core of your motivation.

Passion acts as a stranglehold on some, keeping them on a path of destruction. Yet others are driven by passion to extraordinary results. It is this dichotomy that makes passion hard to define – is it so very bad, or so very good? One thing is certain: passion is “very”. It magnifies a response in one direction or the other.

What if your personal ministry perfectly matched your personal passion?

Discover Your Passion

The Psalmist writes about the “desires of your heart”, depicting strong feelings coming from your emotional insides. The gospels describe Jesus being “moved with compassion” in terms that describe physiological changes, like a rush of adrenalin. A strong emotional reaction can suppress non-emergency bodily functions, and cause increased blood flow to the brain and body core. This involuntary response is one indication of passion.

The experiences of your life have built a pattern of emotional responses. This pattern is an important part of your identity. Reinforced feelings become stronger, while suppressed ones become more and more difficult to access. It is important to identify your passions as you are today, your current identity. It is also beneficial to dig into those emotional responses to understand your natural passions, those that are innate.

Getting in touch with your emotions has become cliché, but it is an important step in discovering your passions. There can be a problem with volume, however. Some feel too quietly, and their passions or feelings may hardly be perceptible. This can be a result of suppression or desensitization. They need permission to feel along with a willingness to experience it. Others feel too loudly, and their passions or feelings can hardly be distinguished one from another. This can be a result of hypersensitivity. They need to focus on the core feelings.

Hold to that which is good

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. - Philippians 2:13

God is at work in you. He is always presenting you with ideas, thoughts and experiences, and it is up to you to decide how to respond. On any given day you may be influenced by thousands of them, some large and persistent and others fleeting. Among them will be promptings to act in God's will, as well as temptations to act selfishly. It is how you are designed: with a choice. When you pay attention to your emotional response to ideas and temptations you will discover your passion.

Passion focused on self leads to sin. When the emotional response to an experience is mostly about how it affects “me”, that indicates a passion focused on self. Caution is advised. For example, addictive behavior is fueled by passion run amok. An idea or thought comes into your mind and your emotional response is based on how you think it will make you feel. Bondage comes because this behavior always promises but never delivers. If you have felt the tug of addiction, then you know how powerful passion can be.

God-like passion leads to ministry. Did you know that God has feelings? He loves, hates, cares and detests. When our emotional response matches His in a given situation, there is unlimited power available. Watch it at work in Jesus during His ministry:

  • "When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14).
  • “Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him.” (Matthew 20:34)
  • “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

Make it a habit to test your emotional response. Choose to match your passion to God's. First, identify the emotional response you are having. Then consider what God's response is to that same situation. If they are the same, He is preparing you for ministry. If they are not the same, you are preparing to strike out on your own, which will not come to any good. Similarly, test your ideas and thoughts. If they trigger godly emotional responses, then you are being prepared for ministry in that area. If they trigger personal feelings then treat it as a temptation, and choose to overcome.

Your Personal Ministry

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” - Matthew 9:36-38

It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. He has created you in a very specific way so that you are equipped to “will and to act”. Understanding your passions, the desires of your heart, is a very important piece to confirming your purpose in life. He has put a call on your life, and you can know that call by following the “passion clues”.

Make a list of the experiences in your life where you felt the passion of God. Maybe it was on a short term mission trip, or when you talked with a missionary. It might have been visiting a hospital or orphanage. Perhaps you were moved to compassion by a news story. Remember that Nehemiah was moved to compassion through the report of his brother. Make a list of the ones you remember and focus on your godly emotional response. We are identifying a passion, not a circumstance, so think below the surface.

Often, God uses these “big events” to get our attention, but sometimes the Holy Spirit will move in very subtle ways. Take some time to wonder about recurring ideas or thoughts that He places in your mind. These thoughts can seem spontaneous or even random, but pay attention when a pattern begins to emerge. Particularly, watch for ideas or thoughts that are associated with passions you have identified through experience.

Look around you right now for the opportunities God has arranged. You will see places where your passion can be put to work. It may be a different circumstance or audience, but once God has helped you identify your godly passion, He will give you work. He loves to team up with us for His glory.

When you are powered by a passion and motivation that matches God's, you have tapped into the unlimited Source.  He has made you a worker in His harverst field.

 
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