Uplifting Passion is an Inside Job
By Ed Delph
April 12, 2021
Consider this statement by Pastor Bill Johnson. When we live out of discipline, we are admired. When we live out of passion, we are contagious. Both passion and discipline are good, but today let’s explore passion. Passion creates commitment and commitment is the ignitor of momentum. Momentum turns thoughts into things.
In this article, I’m not talking about lustful passion. I’m addressing the kind of passion that can be used constructively for our personal good as well as the good of our community. Let’s get past the checked-out “whatever” attitude we often hear about these days. With contagious, constructive, God-empowered passion, we can wake up, shake up, and put on our makeup, and challenge the status quo of doom and gloom.
Years ago, I was meeting with Pastor Bob Hake of Orangewood Church in Phoenix, Arizona, and noticed a poster in the church’s boardroom. It was called “Stir Me.” The poster quote said:
“Stir me … surprise me … inspire me … include me … stretch me … convict me … save me … irritate me … challenge me … comfort me … ignite me … thrill me … move me … anger me … educate me … lift me … center me … scare me … involve me!
Just don't leave me the way you found me when I walked through those doors.”
I don’t see any “whatever” in those words. The writer begs someone to challenge them, not control them.
Do you want to know a secret? When we live out of passion, we are contagious. Passion provides motivation for discipline or getting past those “whatever” times in our lives. Passion spirals us upward. Passion creates action, and then action momentum, which in turn creates unanticipated opportunities.
Ben Nicholas wisely said, “Most of life is routine – dull and grubby, but routine is the momentum that keeps a man going. If you wait for inspiration, you’ll be standing on the corner after the parade is a mile down the street.” Inspiration comes from the outside of us. Passion comes from the inside of us. Passion is much more powerful and long-lasting. Inspiration lasts for a short time. Inspiration gives you a sugar high but then a sugar low. Passion is consistent and is not deterred by circumstances or mishaps.
What is passion? Passion means ‘to suffer.’ It’s "no pain, no gain." It’s costs something. Are you willing to commit for the long term like Jesus did on the cross?
There was a man in the Bible who was passionate about God and people at the same time. Look at this verse: “For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up.” (Acts 24:5).
The fellow in this Bible verse was the Apostle Paul. Paul had a constructive God-given passion that made folks either better or bitter. He stirred things up. Paul was a Christian “virus” that moved people from anabolic to catabolic. You couldn’t be the same after an encounter with Paul. He was a troublesome fellow who brought God into every equation. His passion motivated ordinary people to be and do the extraordinary for the benefit of all the people.
Paul was a God-given “pest” to those who had a different agenda than God’s. He didn’t tear things down unless it was to build back up. He understood passion is the fuel that puts the Word of God into action. He realized that everything stays potential unless someone channels passion. He was convinced that passion activates the promises of God for the benefit of all. He recognized that half-hearted people produce half-hearted results causing everyone in a community to underachieve.
You see, we are like white blood cells in a body. White blood cells fight infection in the physical body. What if the white blood cells in an infected body said, “Whatever!"? Paul could not stand by and allow an infection to go unchecked. That is what you and I were designed by God to do — be the change for the better.
Here’s some more wisdom from others about a passion that ignites. “The more I look at things, the more I believe the willingness to start is the littlest thing in life that makes the biggest difference in life.” “Step onto the field. Stand up in the meeting. Raise your hand in class. Get over the bar. Walk up to the podium. Ask the first question. Take a risk, get started, contribute something.”
How do you do that? Find something to get passionate about that is true, pure, and good; not immoral or corrupt. Whether or not you end up being number one in the world is irrelevant. Most of the time, the value you provide isn’t nearly as important as pushing yourself to provide it. People who consistently get started are the only ones who can end up finishing anything.
Are we Peter, who fell asleep in the garden, or Jesus, who went on from the garden to change the world? Many times, that depends on passion! Don’t allow COVID and inaction to deactivate your passion. Passion gets you going and keeps you going until you’ve finished what you were pursuing. God’s passion is in you, you just need to let it go and then let it grow.
In short, passion starts at the finish and finishes what it starts.
Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com