TITLE: Is Passion Addicting?
By Trecia Wright
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When I think about passion I naturally think about all the things I like. Things that get me all fired up and excited inside emotionally, mentally, and/or physically. For instance, I have passion for my husband. I try to look nice to catch his eye and then when he looks at me, I melt. I try to smell good. Then when he nuzzles in close to kiss my neck my stomach does flip flops. I am also passionate about writing. I love the challenge of finding a way to put words to the messages God lays on my heart. When an article finally comes together I get a satisfaction knowing I not only did what I was supposed to but I also did it well. In yet another way, I would say I am passionate about helping hurting people. When the Holy Spirit moves through me as I work with hurting people it is such an awesome experience. I have always thought living with passion was a positive thing. I have noticed something about myself and others regarding passion though.
I have noticed the pursuit of what I am passionate about is just as alluring as the actual person or thing I and others are pursuing. Think about it this way. You have probably heard stories about people who were extremely driven to succeed in business. They worked hard for years climbing the ladder of success only to reach the top and look around wondering now what? Then comes the fall. Often severe depression sets in because the drive to succeed was keeping them going. Now that element is removed. It's like a drug addict. The pursuing of the drug and the anticipation of the high is just as addicting as the drug. Once they have it and the high is gone depression sets in. So I wondered, is it the object of our pursuit that gets us into trouble or is it actually the "high" of the pursuit itself? Then I wondered does it matter either way? If our attention is focused on getting something or on the feeling of getting something then our focus is not on God and his plan for our lives. When we are trying to make things happen to feel good in one way or another; even if what we are trying to get is considered a good positive thing, we have begun to make decisions independent of God. God tells us to trust in him and he will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6) not us. Grasping at what we want because it feels good to chase it or to posses it is not living according to the Spirit. It is living according to the flesh. Maybe we justify this gratifying of the flesh by calling it passion when really it is lust.
Lust, as defined in the online Merriam-Webster dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary) is an intense longing. In fact as I looked into God's word, the Bible, I found that passion, lust, and sinful desires of the flesh are all used in the same context many times. In 1 John 2:16 we are told, "For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world." I also found in Romans 7:5, "For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death." Passion is in the same company as lust because it is a work of the flesh. Anything that is an extension of our flesh has the potential to become sin or cause us to sin.
For instance in the case of feeling passion for my husband. At the surface that sounds like a good thing. Who doesn't want to have passion for their spouse, right? But, if I am chasing the feeling I get when he looks at me or is close to me then what will I do if he doesn't give it to me? Adulterous affairs in the church are almost just as common as outside the church. Why? I think this has something to do with it. We look to our spouse to experience an intensity. Maybe that intensity existed when you first met. Maybe it existed at a time in your lives when the focus was on worldly desires not on God's will. If that intensity is gone for whatever reason the body, mind, and emotions will begin to seek it out. If we are not making daily decisions to live according to the Spirit of God then eventually we will open the door enough to give the enemy power in our lives and KABAM!...an opportunity for adultery becomes too tempting to resist. I am not saying we don't have to try to provide the needs of our spouse. God did give us to each other to bless and love one another, however, if the people involved are focused on their flesh sin will eventually creep in.
Another example I can use to illustrate how our good intentions can become sin when our focus is on ourselves and not God is with my writing. Many times it would be easier to just write whatever comes to mind rather than waiting for the message on my heart to become more clear. It takes some self-control to wait on the Lord for the words to come from my spirit not my flesh. I have to pray a lot asking for the Holy Spirit to speak through me. There are times I write something and God tells me to delete the whole thing and start over. The point is it takes time and work to write from the Spirit. As I said earlier it feels good to finish an article. Well I could just write whatever comes to mind in pursuit of that feeling; but would I be living according to the Spirit or the flesh? If I am writing to gratify my flesh then it becomes an opportunity for sin. First my sin by doing it outside of God's will; then possibly the sin of others because they listen to what I say.
So is it wrong to desire something or someone? I don't believe so. The desire isn't the wrong part. It is the inability to keep our righteousness, peace an joy without it. It is our attempt to get it by self-will not in God's will. If we are hoping, wishing, or aiming for it then we desire it. If we have such an intense longing that we are willing to go to any length to possess it then we are lusting. If we will suffer without it we have passion for it. Do you see the difference? It's okay to want something as long as we don't want it so much that it takes us away from the Lord. Continue to delight yourself in the Lord and HE will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4. Amen!
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