words from a broken vessel

The Passion Conundrum

As I prayed through Psalm 39, one word popped into my mind: passion.

Our sex-soaked society, which deforms wholesome things into ugliness, translates the word passion as sexual desire. But it means more than that – something more glorious. Most dictionaries define passion as having powerful feelings for something or for some cause that will “cause you to act in a dangerous way.”

I believed I needed to curb, stifle or kill my passion. Medieval monks would have agreed – although some were passionate about burning heretics at the stake!

I can be overtly passionate with things like truth, the Bible, and Jesus Himself. But I am sinful; therefore my passion can be destructive and mean.

I stormed out of a meeting one day, brimming with anger and frustration. But not without slamming a door. After emailing an apology (among other things) I fell into a deep depression, which I’ve not had for many years. When I called a friend about the situation, I burst into tears. Ah, the curse of being a passionate man!

I mentioned before that my passion can cause me to act in a dangerous way, especially when my passion turns into anger. The Scriptures agree. God says that sometimes it is appropriate to be angry, but don’t sin and deal with it by evening[1]. He advises to be quick to listen, but snail-like in speaking and anger, because it doesn’t bring God’s righteousness[2]. Wisdom scolds the fool’s rage[3]; but views the patient person as better than a warrior[4].

Yet it was passionate people who accomplished amazing things for God. Like David: whose passion lifted him up to defeat a blasphemous giant; Peter: who spoke boldly before murderous men; and Paul: whom God redeemed and converted his passion for killing Christians into birthing new believers in the gospel. But all three had glaring faults due to their passion. David is not only associated with Goliath but with Bathsheba as well; Peter denied Christ thrice while cursing; and Paul had a bitter argument with Barnabas because he refused to give the same grace to cowardly John Mark that Jesus gave him on that road to Damascus.

So if God uses passionate people – dangerous yet effective people – then what am I to do with this conundrum called passion? It can kill, but it can accomplish much for his kingdom.

I started off by saying that I prayed through Psalm 39 and one word popped up into my mind: passion. I imagined a wild horse, brimming with life and fury. But the horse needs to submit to its new owner. His will must be broken to conform to his master’s desires. His passion must be restrained. But when the master commands him to fly across the plain, that passion can be released.

I need to be like that horse. I cannot control my passion without the Holy Spirit. Only He can rein this passionate beast through daily crucifixion[5]. But when the kingdom of God needs a storm, it can be resurrected and unleashed .

Dear Jesus, let me faithful to the call!


[1] Ephesians 4:26

[2] James 1:19-20

[3] Proverbs 29:11

[4] Proverbs 16:32 NIV

[5] Luke 9:23