The power of passion
by Victor Leslie, Lt. Colonel –
I heard the expression more than once in one day and decided that I had to pay attention, especially since in the Bible when God wanted to get someone’s attention he always spoke more than once. Yes, at youth councils I heard some kids specifically use the phrase, “I am passionate.” I asked a few young people to explain what they mean when they say, “I am passionate.” Here are a few excerpts from our discussion:
· If you meet a person who has passion, you meet a person who has transformer-like energy.
· It means that there is a compelling, burning drive to somehow make the impossible possible.
· It is like water gushing down the creek with no reason to stop.
· Passion is so powerful it could literally define who you are, what you do or who you become.
· It causes you to jump out of bed excited because you are ready to do something bigger than you and that only you can do.
· It is like having the Spirit inside of you. You cannot fake it. It is authentic, deep and controlling. When you have it, you know it, because you are moved by it.
It is hard to argue with these statements, but there is another thing that we must not miss. Passion must have a purpose or an object. We may have a sense of urgency, be determined, focused, resolved, firm in our conviction and on fire. However, if there is no purpose or object of our passion, it is useless and will wither just like the fruit tree that Jesus cursed or whimper like a firecracker left lying in the rain.
As Salvationists, the purpose and object of our passion has been, and still is, God. It is rooted in grace, in our overwhelming gratitude to God for the “passion of Christ” and in the eternal hope that comes from living for Christ. Our history shows that it was our Army’s passion for God that helped to define who are and who we have become. From the beginning, aggressive Christianity was tattooed on our hearts. We were warriors for the king, driven and focused in our battle against sin and Satan. Matters of personal salvation and social justice were not terms of endearment but rules of engagement. Unrelenting, innovative, “in your face” marketing techniques and tactics were deployed to drive home the gospel of the kingdom of God to anyone in our way or on the way. Passion for souls seized us, wrapped us up, and carried us away, sweeping us forward as our officers and soldiers reacted to the unquenchable roaring fire in their bones to make the impossible possible and win the world for Christ.
Today, it is no different; the ancient rivers of being passionate for God have not dried up. Passion for souls still defines who we are and who we will become. We still jump out of bed excited to “rescue the perishing and care for the dying.” We still move with tidal wave force against sin and those things that corrupt society. We still work each day with a sense of optimism and purpose, putting muscle and energy into living out that transforming deep compassion that flows from the heart of God.
Our young people are dreaming with unbridled enthusiasm about creating a better world. They are pumped up and still have something to live for that they are willing to die for. Their passion for God has no rival and they are pounding the Internet with pioneering evangelism strategies, lighting the imaginations of all our soldiers and officers as we climb the twin peaks of injustice and poverty with a strong, sometimes barely controllable, determination to storm the strongholds of darkness and pull down Satan’s kingdom.
Jesus taught, “Love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy” (Mark 11:30 The Message). Paul confirmed, “Whatever you do, do it with all of your heart [be passionate] as unto the Lord and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). There is power in passion—red hot, turn up the heat, check the temperature, on fire passion—but it must have a purpose—God!