Passion or Emotion: The Chicken or the Egg

Passion or Emotion: The Chicken or the Egg

Having passion is different than having strong emotion. Though I may have emotions connected to my passion, as a Christian, my emotions shouldn’t totally fuel my passion. Godly passion is focus and direction, whether emotions are involved or not. I can appear to be without strong emotion yet still have deep passion, but I don’t necessarily have passion just because I’m brimming with emotions.

Godly Passion or Just Emotion

Godly Passion or Just Emotion
I know many who believe they are deeply passionate people. But the litmus test of whether it is godly passion or just emotionalism is if they evidence a honed focus on the Lord or just emotional drama. Any of us can be filled with drama. I can be dramatic and know quite a few drama queens. But where the rubber meets the road is what we do with all that dramatic emotional energy.

Any of us can teem with excitement, but only Christ is able to reign over our emotions and direct them into heavenly passion. I can be passionate about winning something, or have human passion for achieving some significant feat, or just be passionate to be someone great, but divine passion is all about focusing on and listening to the King of Glory. Divine passion is the Life of Christ.

In my recent posts, I have been circling around the subject of the art of listening. I have shown that true silence is not an exercise in remaining quiet but the art of listening. I also revealed that whenever we define circumstances apart from God, we are in pride. And this is why our direction and focus have to be centered on the Lord Jesus. When I direct my ear to hear His Voice, then I can listen to Him with my heart. If this hearing happens to stir up strong emotions, which inevitably it can, great. But the key is having God-fueled passion stemming from my honed focus and attention on Jesus and His Will.

Passionate For His Life

Passionate For His Life
Another side of this is that without my mind and spirit being focused, I can’t live in the exchanged Life. Christ can’t be my life if I am continually misdirected and unfocused. Jesus won’t override my will to live my own life. Only when He is my focal point can I engage His passion.

Listening involves focus and attention. When I have passion to follow the Lord’s pursuit, then it’s because Jesus has stirred it up in my heart. Then I am in divine passion. This forgoes all simple emotional endeavors and becomes Life with purpose. With a listening ear and divine passion born of being focused on Christ, I become an arrow in His quiver. He can aim and shoot me without fear of misfiring. So while the blaze coming off me might contain emotions, the sureness of my life is the divine passion found in the Life of Christ. Again, I am not saying that emotions are bad; they’re not. But I can’t let them dictate my course. That would just be flesh, and ultimately futile.

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    • Helen

      This series…words of life… received by the Spirit, doing their work in my heart.
      Cleansed, pruned, abiding…thank you John!

      • So pleased Helen! It is important that it be He not me and your confirmation it very encouraging. Love you!!

    • Celia

      This may be outside of the scope that you intended for the message, but when I read the blog today, it convicted and instructed me in the area of passion that we may have for the unsaved, particularly loved ones that we care deeply about. We can become emotional messes (don’t ask me how I know!) around this topic. Is it a Godly desire? Yes, but it can become death when our ultimate focus is not on Christ, as you say. This convicted me that if I have a passion for someone to love God and have a Godly life, that passion must brought under the authority of the Lord and not just lived at the whim of my emotions. And if there is any self centered motive within me, there will be no exchanged life in this matter only me being a resounding gong or clanging cymbal, not an arrow in His hand. What peace to focus just on Him! What chaos, not too! Why do we do not always choose Him?!

      • I think your point is perfectly suited. Do you remember my post New Word for a New Day. I feel like it really falls in line with your point. So grateful for you. Thank you for always being on point. Love you!

      • Don Hartness

        I love this point, fully in line with what John is saying. If I don’t know the difference, I’m likely to beat the listener over the head with a Bible, all because of my emotions. Love is “other” centered, and this includes meeting people where they are, not where we want them to be.

        • This is so true Don. I never can put those expectation on others to be what “in my opinion” is right. Yikes! We have a Holy Spirit, I am no good as a substitute. Blessing you Don. Your comments are great.

    • Helen

      Thank you Celia, for going down deep…so helpful to me. And Don, “meeting people where they are, not where we want them to be.” Sent me straight to 1Cor.9. (Vs.22) “To the weak (wanting in discernment) I have become weak (wanting in discernment) that I might win the weak and over-scrupulous..” As in ‘rigorously exact & precise’..till the heart is gone right out of it! (me sometimes) Hmm, think John was getting at that in his blog on the pride of ‘defining’. Now there’s a passion that bangs on the head, instead of draws. Here Paul approaches the Jews, & those without the law of God, & the weak…as servant, “committed to the law of Christ”. And there the Good News of the Gospel can Livingly come. Give us a true passion, that comes from Your heart, LORD JESUS!

    • Deborah

      Inreresting… my Pastor’s wife and I were just having a discussion in this arena. We are what believers would call.. .charismatic…that said we were saying that the charismatic arm of the church has sometimes veered from paths of wisdom into a walk feathered with feelings that rule our decision making. When it comes to listening and waiting and following wise counsel our emotions overlay the above and lead us into missteps. Read just the first chapter of Proverbs and it sort of takes your breathe away. I am reading a chapter in Proverbs every day since our conversation. I am an emotional worshiper….passionate about God…still more and more I need the quiet wisdom that shouts so that my feet stay on the path! We need passion…emotions…AND the golden and
      silver threads of wisdom to weave ourselves all together.

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