The driving force behind all great art, music, literature, drama, architecture, athletic accomplishments and achievements in science is passion

     A man walked up to Jesus and asked, "Which is the first commandment of all?  Jesus answered him, 'The first of all the commandments is:…you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.  This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Mark 12:29, 30, 32

     Two things that really matter in life is to love God and love people with a passion. If we do that everything else of importance will follow. A song you may have heard drives this truth home, Love God, love people. That's the Center of the Mark."

     The Bible uses the phrase "with all your heart" a number of times. It carries the idea of "passionately".  The Old Testament book of Deuteronomy teaches us to:

                                        Seek God passionately,    4:29
                                        Love God passionately,     6:5
                                        Serve God passionately,  10:12
                                        Obey God passionately,  30:2.

     From Proverbs we are to trust God passionately, 3:5, and Colossians tells us to do everything passionately, 3:23.

     Americans seem to be passionate about almost everything! We are passionate about every form of sports. We are passionate about current fashion, certain kinds of cars, movies, and soap operas. You can check  and find hundreds of books with passion in the title: birds, cactus, chocolate, fashion, fish, flying , gardening, golf, hunting, jazz, mushrooms, needlepoint, pasta, ponies, potatoes, shoes and steam.

     Jesus said "If you're going to please God with your worship and service you're got to do it with passion."
We are born with a God-given sense of passion. God gave us feelings and emotion. Just look at small children. They are extremely passionate. They feel everything deeply,-the highs and the lows.

     Do you remember your passion when you graduated from high school? "Get ready world, here I come! All required education is over. Anything more is our decision. We can now do what we please."

     When we got married we felt passion. "Wow! I'm married to the one person on earth I want to be with for the rest of my life!"

     Every one of us who trust Jesus Christ as our Savior felt a passion when we really got our salvation settled. Our sins were forgiven. God was now our Father. Heaven was our eternal home. We felt passion about this new relationship.

     So what happened to the passion? It seemed to have leaked out of our life. Our enthusiasm, excitement, motivation and expectations seemed to evaporate into the air. Our fondest dreams began to gather dust. Every Monday it was, "Ho hum. Another week of the same-old, same-old". We don't feel the same about our job or have the feeling about our spouse we once did. And we don't feel anywhere near as close to God as we used to feel.

     Passion for life is lost because of one or more of these seven passion stealers. Perhaps you can identify where you lost your passion and how you can gain it back.

The Seven Passion Stealers Are:

Living Without Purpose

     Living without purpose is THE most common reason people lack passion. If you don't have a purpose for living, why bother? Life seems futile. The longer you go through life without clarifying what God's purpose for your life is, the less passion you will have.

  On the other hand, a clear purpose creates passion. The greater your purpose, the more passionate you will be about living. The highly respected psychologist named Hobbs, says this:
      "Passion is waking up in the morning, wherever you are, however old or young, and bounding out of bed because you know there's something out there that you love to do, that you believe in, that you're good at, something that's bigger than you are and you can hardly wait to get at it again. It's something you'd rather be doing more than anything else in the whole world. You wouldn't give it up for money; it means more to you than money. And hopefully, it's something that makes the world a better place for other people and not just for yourself."

     If you come to know God's purpose for your life and commit to it you will find that God's purpose is huge and will generate enormous passion in your life. Clarify your purpose in life.

Not Using Your Special Talents

     God has placed in the gene pool of every family tree some specific inborn talents and abilities. "Jabal…was the father of those who live in tents and have livestock. …Jubal was the father of those who play the lyre and pipe…Tubal-Cain, the forger of implements of bronze and iron…" Genesis 4:21, 22.

     Christians have one or more spiritual gifts that are imparted to them by the Holy Spirit at the time they receive Jesus Christ by faith as their Savior. "As each one has received a special gift…´ 1st Peter 4:10. Our highest levels of passion are experienced when our talents and abilities are used productively in our vocation and our spiritual gifts in fruitful ministry.
     Studies have revealed that up to 70% of Americans are stuck in the wrong job. They are only using about 30% of their talent, abilities, and brain power. That leaves a 70% boredom factor and squelches passion.
     Sadly, most Christians have never discovered what spiritual gift(s) God has bestowed on them and are not using them in ministry. Discover and use your talents, abilities and gifts.

An Unbalanced Life

     Most of us are overworked or under-worked. Either way it tends to cause us to lose our passion. A balance between input and output is needed in our life.

     Some people are always giving out. Unforeseen work comes up and they are the designated one to do it. Or, they volunteer. In the Christian community there are always people who need help, comfort and care. Those who always give out and rarely take in respond to these. Eventually they develop what some have labeled "compassion fatigue". The end result is emotional and spiritual numbness. They stop caring: about others, about themselves and about God.

     There are others who are always "taking in". They take in the love, care, and support from others. They take in the teaching of others where they work or attend church. They go to seminars and take in the teachings of renowned experts. They read; listen to tapes; and watch videos, but they don't personalize what they learn. They do not put it into practice by "giving out" to others. All of their unused knowledge stagnates. So does their passion for life.

     The answer is balance. Take in from others what is needed for knowledge, encouragement, comfort, and motivation. Then, it is important that we use this in giving out to others.

An Unconfessed Sin

     There is a difference in the effect sin has on a person who is believer and one who is not. To an unbeliever sin stands like an impenetrable wall between them and God preventing any relationship with God. In reality Jesus has already received the full punishment for their sins on the cross. God's justice has been satisfied and God stands with open arms ready to receive them. Then a person turns from their sins and accepts Christ's sacrifice for their sins by faith; the wall is dissolved and they enter into a relationship of Father (God) and child.

     Believers already have that relationship with God, but unconfessed sin breaks their fellowship. A sense of both guilt and this loss of fellowship causes passion and joy to vaporize.

     Believers have this promise "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1st John 1:9. Confession brings restored fellowship with God and a renewed joy and passion.

An Unresolved Conflict

     Did you ever wake up feeling great and think, "This is going to be a great day!" And it is, until a verbal fight with your spouse, or your boss. Then all the zip leaks out like air from a punctured tire.

     Sadly, some people find it necessary to live or work in situations of constant conflict that cannot be resolved. Even so, there is a way to maintain our passion. It comes by letting go of the hurt; turning it over to God and leaving it in His hands. Anger and resentment will steal our passion and even destroy us. "For wrath kills a foolish man, and envy slays a simple one." Job 5:2.

     Resolve conflicts or turn them over to God, and keep your passion.

An Unsupported life

     Passion for life can be lost because we try to go through life alone. God never meant for life to be a solo act. Whether single or married, we all need relationships. Remember the most serious form of punishment is called solitary confinement.

     Each of us need a circle of close friends who provide fellowship, encouragement, comfort, counsel, support, --and even a kick in the rear when we need it.

     The support of loving, like-minded friends goes a long way to keep our passion from dissipating.

An Undernourished Spirit

     At its root, passion is a spiritual issue. God created man a spiritual being as well as a physical being. In order to have a passion for life, the spirit of man must be nourished.

     Virtually every day things come into our lives that tend to depress our spirit. People are rude; they criticize and misjudge. There are disappointments. Some situations leave our nerves on edge and others leave us bone tired. If we don't know how to nourish our spirit our heart will grow cold, our spirit will shrink and we will wind up a crotchety, cranky old person that no one likes.

     The antidote is to purposely nourish our spirit. "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving"   Colossians 2:6, 7.

     We are to develop a daily, vital, growing, vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ and draw from Him the nourishment for our spirit. To put it simply, we talk to Him in prayer and He talks to us from the word of God (the Bible).

    The people who make the greatest impact on any generation are those who have a passion for life. If you have lost yours, I encourage you to get it back and make your impact for God and for Good.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted