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Category: Influence

Be Careful; Your Passion is Showing.

Have you ever met someone who is truly passionate about something? It is incredible; is it not? What is even more incredible is the fact that their passion is contagious. When you get around someone who is passionate, you want to be passionate as well. The funny thing about passion is it reveals itself over time whether or not you want to show it. Your passion or lack thereof reveals who you truly are. So, be careful; your passion is showing.

Passion is an ardent love for something. It is what drives a person; more simply put it is the “why” behind everything we do. If a life was written as a paper, the person’s passion would be their thesis statement. Everything in the paper is there to do one thing: prove the thesis. From one’s main passion come hundreds of other passions that support the overall passion.

I have been around passionate people my whole life, but the first person whose passion ever caught my eye was a student teacher. To be honest, her passion weirded me out. I could not understand it at all. She did everything with an unbelievable passion. I remember once she decorated the classroom, and it was insane. I could not help but thinking you are just a student teacher; you do not have to go all out. But she did, and she went all out in everything, in every big task, and in every small task. Whatever I watched her do, she did it passionately. As I got to know her better over the years, I realized that her passion was not for these tasks, but rather her passion was to know God. Her passion to know God led her to have a love for God. This love for God gave her a passion to please God and serve Him in any way that she could which was displayed in her passion in her simple deeds. A.W. Tozer once said, “Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there.” She realized that she could find God in her simple acts of obedience; therefore, she did them with passion, and her passion showed.

The next person whose passion just stooped me was a teacher of mine. From the first moment I met her, her passion for history was evident. She loves it, and her love for history makes me love history. Although her passion for history is abundantly evident, it is not what caught my eye. It was when she prayed. Every time she prayed in class, I felt like I was out of place like I was interrupting a private conversation between her and God. I remember thinking that although she loved history, she loved God even more. Her passion showed. She has taught me so much, but one day she told me this, and I have never forgotten it: Passion is everything.

I believe that there are three main things in which we can be passionate about: Ourselves, The World, or God.

1.We can be passionate about Ourselves.

In today’s culture our image is everything to us. How we appear in society has become a common passion. We spend much of our time, money, and effort on us. We love ourselves. An example of someone who had a passion for themselves was Judas Iscariot. He appeared to follow Christ and have a passion for Christ, but rather, he had a passion for himself and his own advancement, and in the end, his passion showed. But his passion showed in areas throughout his following of Christ. One example of this is found in John 12:4-6, “Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” Although he said his passion was one thing, his true passion for himself came to light. His advancement was the reason behind everything he did. It is easy to become as Judas did. It is easy to give into our desires and our advancements, but we must remember what Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” The only way not to be passionate about yourself is to be dead to self and alive in Christ.

2.We can be passionate about The World.

This is very similar to being passionate about ourselves, but it has its differences. Being passionate about the world is really being passionate about meaningless, temporal things. It is being passionate about things that will not last whether it is sin, sports, people, or stuff; it being passionate about things that do not count for eternity. The Bible tells us of Demas in 2 Timothy 2:10, “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;” Although Demas said his passion was for the things of Christ, his passion eventually showed; he had a passion for this world. James 4:4 tells us, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” And 1 John 2:15 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Over and over again, the Bible explains to us that having a passion for this world is to be the enemy of God.

3.We can be passionate about God.

This should be every Christians passion. Christ should be our passion and guide for everything we do. His love should move us to love. His commandment should be heeded by us. His words should give us life. He should be everything to us. When I think of people who are passion it about God in the scriptures I cannot help but think of David and Paul. The Psalms are filled with David’s passion for God. He wrote in Psalm 42:1-2, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” He later wrote in Psalm 63:1, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;” And again in Psalm 84:2, “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” He wrote over, and over, and over again about his passion for God, but he not only wrote of it, he lived it. In 1Samuel 1, David reveals his passion for God in his famous words, “Is there not a cause?” Later in the passage in verses 45-47, he continues to show his passion for Christ, “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.” When David’s passion was God, it was displayed in everything he said or did, but when he lost his passion for God, the cost was great.

The next person I think of for having a passion for God is Paul. He wrote in Philippians 3:7-10, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” His passion to know God caused him to do things he would not normally do, value things he would not normally value, suffer things he would not normally suffer; but he was willing to because he wanted Christ and was willing to do whatever he could to know Christ.

A passion for God will conform us into His image. It will go against what is normal to us. It will cause us to do things we would not normally do. His love for us will drive us to love others. His mercy will cause us to be merciful. His forgiveness will cause us to forgive. A true passion for God will change you.

What is your passion? Do you have a passion for yourself, for the world, or for Christ? Passion is everything; therefore, you had better have the right one, and be careful; your passion is showing, and it contagious.

The Influence of Friendship

If you know me at all, you know that I love being around people. I live on a dorm floor with about seventy other girls, and I love every moment of it. But there is one thing in which I have learned when it comes to people, and that is, you are most like who you hang around the most. When you hang out with someone who is sarcastic, you will find yourself becoming sarcastic, and so on and so forth.

I see an example of this in the Bible in the first chapter of Daniel. Here, the Bible tells us about four young jewish men who were just pulled from their homeland and placed in a wicked pagan environment. We learn the names of the young men in verse six: “Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:” As one reads on to verse eight, they find Daniel’s resolution: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” We do not read about Hananiah, Mishael, or Azariah making a similar resolution, but as one continues to read they see how Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah do not eat of the kings meat or drink of the wine. So where did Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah make a resolution like Daniel did? We do not read of any in the Scripture, but they had a friend who made such a resolution. They shared in Daniel’s blessing, because they had a friend who was willing to take a stand for right no matter the cost. I often find myself wondering if they were not friends with Daniel, would there be a Daniel 3 where we read of the famous three men who stood while all others bowed?

Friends have a huge impact on our lives and most of the time we cannot even see the impact in which they have upon us. I have heard it often said, “You are who your friends are.” It is a truthful statement indeed about friendship.