Passion or God-centered purpose?

These days, the word passion is in common usage, often having a positive connotation. It’s believed that the more “passionate” one is about something, such as a goal or career path, the more likely one is to experience success. Many consider the question “What is your passion?” to be critical to choosing the most fulfilling path forward. 

But originally, passion referred to suffering, and today there are still negative undertones that are sometimes associated with it, such as anger, obsession, disturbance, disorder, and agitation, to name a few. In today’s society, in which passion is believed to be a quality or mind-set that is essential to our ability to succeed or advance, what can we do to make sure that the diligence, devotion, and determination we express aren’t counteracted by the opposite qualities of willfulness and extremity? Is human energy, emotion, willpower, blind enthusiasm, or obsession able to provide us with legitimate and long-standing success and fulfillment? Does passion forward a worthy purpose?

We can turn to the Bible to find timeless examples of those who achieved remarkable outcomes, not through willpower or unrestrained zeal, but through steadfast allegiance to God and reliance on spiritual methods—most notably, the life of Christ Jesus. Following the divinely bestowed confirmation of his sonship with God, Jesus was led into the wilderness, or a supposititious state of mental and material ambiguity, “to be tempted of the devil” (see Matthew 3:17, 4:1–11). In this narrative, the devil, representing the belief of a power opposed to God, tempts Jesus three times to yield up a commitment to his divine sonship and purpose, and instead, fall down and worship the enticing, yet vacuous and unfulfilling, promises of materialism. 

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