Passion & Purpose

I haven’t completely figured out the official cutoffs, but it’s generally accepted that I am a late Generation X’er. There are many things that differentiate us from other generations but I believe one of the greatest differences is that we are a passion driven generation. Before us, the Baby Boomers and the Silent Generations were all focused on potential. To this day, Boomers are concerned that their grandchildren live up to their potential by pushing  education and getting a good job. Think about the civil rights movements, feminism, and the space programs of the sixties and early seventies, and you will see how much that generation wanted to maximize the capacity of what they could do. I was raised and educated by that generation, and they are still watching me to make sure I live up to my potential.

Generation X introduced a new drive, in that we are generally focused on what we WANT to do. A good working definition of passion is an intense enthusiasm or compelling desire for someone or something. Passion for whatever pleases our hearts, seems to be the main thing that informs most of what we do, and how we live our lives. Consider this: my generation brought us hip hop, grunge, independent films, social media online, and a renaissance of the entrepreneurial spirit. It is our generation that has virtually collapsed print publishing (ie newspaper, and magazine), crippled the music industry (ie major record labels), and revolutionized how we enjoy mass media (ie, TV, movies, and radio). All of this, because we pursue our passions.

Generation X understands the importance of education, but don’t consider it a necessity. For this reason you have business men and women with no formal training, but passion and great instincts, earning billions of dollars; while there even more artists and athletes creating huge success, without even applying to any college. We’re all about passion. However, I want to make sure we understand the parameters of our passion. We have to be careful in this, “do what makes you happy” world, so here are 5 things you should consider as you are pursuing your passion:

  1. Passion comes from you and only you

    As a pastor, I’ve heard many people erroneously declare that God gave them a passion to whatever it is they want to do. That’s not so. Things we desire are birthed out of exposure. No matter how hard someone tries, they cannot be made to love anything. The desire for more of whatever you and I have been exposed to is solely on us; and in the same way, we will never desire anything we haven’t seen, felt, tasted, heard or experienced.

  2. Passions are unpredictable

    I’ll never forget what my friend, Pastor Iran Pitre, told me. He said, “We aren’t in control what we like: we just like what we like, and there is no real explanation for it.” He went on to say, “You just see it, smell it, taste it, hear it, and it pleases you.”

    This is why some people have “strange pleasures”, like the ones who enjoy the smell of gasoline, or the flavor of chitterlings. I have a tall niece, and no one is surprised about her love for sports, especially volleyball. However, I have a tall daughter as well. Everyone assumes she loves sports, but her passions lay in the arts and fashion. Passions can’t be predicted.

    Not only that, but passions can go just as easily as they come. This is why you find people who are passionate about dancing this year, and the next year they are passionate about making organic soaps. Passion devoid of purpose is temporary. Even passion in romantic relationships need to be periodically renewed.

  3. Passion affects us on a deep level

    Please don’t think that I am propagating new age philosophy, but there is some truth to what new age theorist believe. I agree that our passions are more felt than seen. The “energy or vibe” we project changes whenever we begin to even talk about our passions. We light up; we get excited! Ever talk to a kid about their crush? Yea, that’s what I mean. Your passions will be evident to others, and they will feel it too, because it affect you in a metaphysical way.

  4. God can use your passion

    Yes, the scriptures speak a lot about denying our passions (Romans 1: 26-27, Galatians 5:24, James 4:3), . But I’ve God use people’s passions in a mighty way. Consider David: whether as a shepherd, a warrior, and as a king, he had a passion for writing poetry and songs. God was able to use the passion of David’s gifts, to teach us theological truths about Himself. God CAN use your passions. Bill and Gloria Gaither, Andre Crouch, Kirk Franklin and many others have blessed the body of Christ with wonderful music that helps us worship our God. Max Lucado, John Maxwell, Dave Ramesy, and many others have taught us wonderful and practical insight through their books. Paul and Jan Crouch, Marcus and Joni Lamb, and Kevin Adell all broadcast the Gospel to billions of people around the world with their television networks. God can collide your passions with your purpose, subsequently changing the world!

  5. Your greatest passion should be the will of God

    Sometimes we have to override our personal desires in order to fulfill the will of God. At the end of the day, we have been created for God’s glory and to fulfill His purpose for our lives. This means that God can have us do something that we don’t particularly want to do. This was my experience. When I sensed the call of God for me to preach and pastor, it was compelling. Preaching and pastoring were the furthest things from my mind, my plan or my passion: I didn’t want to do it. I had to yield my will to His in order to fulfill His purpose for my life.

    With this I’m in good company. Luke 22 tells us about Jesus as He is preparing to go to the cross. He has a crossroads moment. He begins to really feel the weight of His purpose. He had been teaching and preaching, but that wasn’t His purpose. He had been healing the sick and raising the dead, but that wasn’t His purpose. He had been performing a variety of miracles and wonders, but that wasn’t His primary purpose. Jesus was born to die for our sins. He came to take on the debt of our transgressions, and be our sacrificial lamb. At this moment, Jesus wasn’t afraid of the uncertainty of death as you and I may be; but He did not want to be separated from The Father, because He and the Father are one. For Jesus to die and descend into the depths of the underworld meant separation, and He just didn’t want to do that. He prayed, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (v. 42)

    Even Jesus, had to yield His personal passions to the will of the Father; and it just may be that one day you and I will have to do the same. As believers, it is our primary purpose to please Him. Even if He asks us to do something we wouldn’t choose for ourselves, we must know that God won’t lead us wrong. In the end He will make all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28).

© 2018 Derek J. Murphy Enterprises, and I AM KINGDOM Publishing, All Rights Reserved.

If you enjoyed this essay, please feel free to share it with your family, friends and social media to help spread this encouragement. Thank you for reading!

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