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Becoming the Man God Wants You To Be #5, September 9, 2020: Passion

If I am to become the man God wants me to be, I must face life with passion. Passion is “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate… a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything” (

Leadership guru John Maxwell says, “Experts spend a lot of time trying to figure out what makes people successful. They often look at people’s credentials, intelligence, education, and other factors. But more than anything else, passion makes the difference. David Sarnoff of RCA maintains that ‘nobody can be successful unless he loves his work.’”

He proceeds to list “four truths about passion and what it can do for you as a leader:

1. Passion is the First Step to Achievement. Desire determines your destiny…. Anyone who lives beyond an ordinary life has great desire…..

2. Passion Increases Your Willpower…. Passion “is the fuel for the will. If you want anything badly enough, you can find the willpower to achieve it. The only way to have that kind of desire is to develop passion….

3. Passion Changes You. If you follow your passion – instead of other’s perceptions – you can’t help becoming a more dedicated, productive person. And that increases your ability to impact others….

4. Passion Makes the Impossible Possible…. A leader with great passion and few skills always outperforms a leader with great skills and no passion” (The 21 Indispensable Qualities of A Leader, pp. 83-85).

Brian Biro uses the word “enthusiasm” to describe this attribute which he says was one of the two “foundational cornerstones” of Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. The other was “industriousness.” He says, “To fully achieve the best of which you’re capable, you must love what you do. Industriousness and enthusiasm are inextricably bound together. Hard work without enthusiasm leads to tedium. Enthusiasm without industriousness leads to unrealized potential. When they are present together, they cement a solid foundation leading to success

He says there are three primary targets for your enthusiasm: people, fundamentals, and learning.

(Beyond Success, p. 62-63)

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says this about passion, as it is used in Scripture:

“’Passion’ is derived from Latin passio, which in turn is derived from the verb patior, with the root, pat-. The Latin words are connected with the Greek root, path-, which appears in a large number of derivatives. And in Greek, Latin, and English (with other languages in addition) words connected with this root, pat-, path-, are often susceptible of a great variety of meanings, for which the dictionaries must be consulted. For ‘passion,’ however, as it appears in English Versions of the Bible, only three of these meanings need be considered.

(1) Close to what seems to be the primary force of the root is the meaning ‘suffer,’ and in this sense ‘passion’ is used in Acts 1:3,’ ‘to whom he also showed himself alive after his passion.’  This translation is a paraphrase (Greek: ‘after he had suffered’), due to the Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) (post passionem suam), and in English is as old as Wycliff, whom the subsequent English Versions of the Bible has followed. This is the only case in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) where ‘passion’ has this meaning, and it can be so used in modern English only when referring (as here) to the sufferings of Christ (compare ‘Passion play’).

(2) ‘Suffering,’  when applied to the mind, came to denote the state that is controlled by some emotion, and so ‘passion’ was applied to the emotion itself. This is the meaning of the word in Acts 14:15, ‘men of like passions,’ and James 5:17, ‘a man of like passions,’ Greek homoiopathes; the Revised Version margin ‘of like nature’ gives the meaning exactly:

‘men with the same emotions as we.’

(3) From ‘emotion’ a transition took place to ‘strong emotion,’ and this is the normal force of ‘passion’ in modern English the King James Version does not use this meaning, but in the Revised Version (British and American) ‘passion’ in this sense is the translation of pathos, in its three occurrences:

Romans 1:26 (the King James Version ‘affection’); Colossians 3:5 (the King James Version ‘inordinate affection’); 1 Thessalonians 4:5 (the King James Version ‘lust’).

It is used also for two occurrences of pathema (closely allied to pathos) in Romans 7:5(the King James Version ‘motions,’ the King James Version margin ’passions’) and in Galatians 5:24 (the King James Version ‘affection’). The fixing of the exact force in any of these cases is a delicate problem fully discussed in the commentaries. In Colossians 3:5 only does ‘passion’ stand as an isolated term. The context here perhaps gives the word a slight sexual reference, but this must not be overstressed; the warning probably includes any violent over-emotion that robs a man of his self-control.”


Burton Scott Easton

(Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. “Entry for ‘PASSION, PASSIONS'”. “International Standard Bible Encyclopedia”. 1915.) 

Bestselling authors Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz refer to this quality/attribute as “Spiritual Energy.” They maintain that, “The quantity of energy we have to spend at any given moment is a reflection of our physical capacity. Our motivation to spend what we have is largely a spiritual issue. Fundamentally, spiritual energy is a unique force for action in all dimensions of our lives. It is the most powerful source of our motivation, perseverance and direction. We define ‘spiritual’ not in the religious sense, but rather in more simple and elemental terms: the connection to a deeply held set of values and to a purpose beyond our self-interest. At the practical level, anything that ignites the human spirit serves to drive full engagement and to maximize performance in whatever mission we are on. The key muscle that fuels spiritual energy is character – the courage and conviction to live by our values, even when doing so requires personal sacrifice and hardship. Supportive spiritual muscles include passion, commitment, integrity and honesty” (The Power of Full Engagement, p. 110) (Underlining is mine – RS).

Let’s encourage one another to approach life, and especially our roles as spiritual leaders in our families and in the church, with passion. God expects no less of us!

Thanks for reading.


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