The Source of Passion

“That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend… the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ…”—Ephesians 3:17-19

 Even he who is lost through passion has not lost so much as he who has lost passion, for the former had possibility.—Søren Kierkegaard
Most of us yearn to “think big,” to live passionate, larger, exuberant lives. But, there’s a part of us that’s afraid. We want our passions in small, safe doses. We even wonder if a passionate, larger life just might be too sinful and indulgent.

I agree with Jonathan Mayhew (a seventeenth century preacher), who observed, “No passion or affection, with which we are born, can be in itself sinful; it becomes so only by willful or careless indulgence.”

God intends for us to live passionately, strong in our convictions, willing to be stretched in faith and in love. The English writer Dorothy Sayers argued, “The only sin passion can commit is to be joyless.”

Passion is a learned response. Just as we learn to think and communicate from our earthly parents, we also learn about spiritual love from our Heavenly Father. Each of us is born with unique passions. Sometimes we’re afraid of them, believing they can lead us to ruin. But couldn’t they also be gifts from God, designed to make our lives richer?

We are consistently reminded throughout Scripture how much God wants to enrich and enlighten us.

“I bow my knees to the Father,” Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend … the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ …” (3:14,17–19).

Larger, deeper, stronger, higher. God pours His love into us. He causes our relationship with Him to grow, and with it, our view of life.

“A man without passion is only a latent force, only a possibility, like a stone waiting for the blow from the iron to give forth sparks,” wrote Swiss philosopher Henri Frederic Amiel.

But who strikes the blow? Who ignites the passion?

I learned, after trying too many times to muster up passion on my own, that the source of true passion is God Himself, the “lover of my soul.” His passion for us, like life breathed into us, begets all that is good.

His wisdom flows out of His love, and in turn guides us and teaches us how to live as a “beloved one.”