Words can be powerful vehicles of communication. The correctly chosen word can conjure both mental pictures and emotional stirrings.
Perhaps it has been going on forever, but during my lifetime words have been turned upside down with novel meanings. Do you remember when the meaning of “bad” changed to meaning good?
One of my favorite words is “passion.” The more I have come to understand the meaning of this word, the more I like it. It is a word that is often used in church or in the business world. If you google the word, you will find quotes by business leaders like Donald Trump, John Maxwell, etc. In fact, the Successories line of motivational posters includes one on passion. The quote that accompanies passion is pretty good:
There are many things in life that capture your eye, but very few will capture your heart. These are the ones to pursue. These are the ones worth keeping.
This quote starts to get at the meaning of the word. A passion is something that appeals to more than the eye. A shiny trinket is not worth pursuing. Something of value that captures the heart is worthy of our pursuit. Yet this use of the word does not go far enough in defining what is real passion.
Mel Gibson gave us a movie a few years ago that was titled The Passion of the Christ (Definitive Edition). The title was not chosen to simply convey that Jesus had something that captured his heart. The passion means that Christ suffered for something that captured his heart.
Wikipedia has an interesting take on the word. It correctly identifies the word as coming from a Latin word meaning “to suffer or to endure.” Yet when defining the word, nothing connects with the original Latin meaning. This is the problem with our modern usage. We have divorced the meaning from it’s original intent.
So here we go — Passion is that thing which stirs us from our depths to suffer or endure for someone or something. Are you passionate about God and the gospel? Not if your pursuit is health and wealth. Are you passionate for your spouse, children, etc.? Only if you care so much that you suffer for them.
If we properly understand this, we will discover that we are passionate about less than we really think. We speak of crimes of passion, but this is definitely a misuse of the term. A crime of passion seeks to inflict suffering on somebody else so that you do not have to suffer. That is not passion. That is selfishness.
My challenge to you is to ask you to reflect upon what you have genuine passion. For what or for whom will you suffer? Stir up these passions.
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