The word for passion in the Bible is often used to refer to the physical drives for food, sex and water. It’s a compulsion that one will do whatever necessary to fulfill. Paul talks about fulfilling the sex drive in the bounds of matrimony. He says, “But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion” (1 Corinthians 7:9). It is often included in the list of fleshly sins. Paul also writes, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). The root of the word deals with “strong desire,” but it doesn’t always have to be a bad “strong desire.” In a verse that is contrasted with the fleshly passions, Paul says to Timothy, “But as for you…flee these things (fleshly passions). Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11)

Did you know that the word from which our word “enthusiasm” comes from is a combination of two words which are “theos” (God) and “en” (in)? It means God in you! Jesus told us that He would send us the Holy Spirit who would “…be in you” (John 14:17). Even today we say he or she has “spirit” when we see someone filled with enthusiasm and passionate about what they are doing. All the enthusiasm and spirit we need are right here in us. It’s a wellspring that will never run dry. Once we grasp the depth of God’s love for us, as expressed on the cross of Calvary, are lives will never be the same. His “passion” for us took Him to the cross. It’s even called “the passion.” We are changed forever. Paul tells the Ephesians and all of us that we should “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Spiritual Gifts are special abilities that come along with the presence of the Spirit in our lives. Based on our specific abilities, experiences, and personalities they are the things we get excited about.

I don’t get enthusiastic about everything in life! I’m not a good numbers person! I’m not a good details guy! I don’t do well around physics, science, biology, geography or geology. My father was in construction, doing plastering, cement, stone, and artificial stone work. He was excellent at that and got passionate about it. He would take every opportunity to sign his work, like an artist (See the Longhorn bar in Ft. Calhoun!). But that wasn’t for me! I couldn’t draw a straight line. I would never be happy in that kind of work. But I really do get excited about talking about God’s Word. Once I became a Christian, that’s all I’ve wanted to do, thus off to Bible College and then Seminary to study and learn God’s Word to spend the rest of my life talking about it. Jim Collins, in his book “Good to Great” says, “The good-to-great companies did not say, ‘Okay, folks, let’s get passionate about what we do.’ Sensibly, they went the other way entirely: ‘We should only do those things that we can get passionate about.’”

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God.” 1 Corinthians 2:12