but even if…

Passion fueled by Compassion

This is a response I wrote to a fellow-blogger/sojourner. You can read his post here: Erik Fish. Thanks for the thought-provoking post, Erik!

It’s so easy to be derailed by passion, no? Passion has a positive connotation in our culture today but if we view it from the context of the bible, it’s often lumped into the sin/lust category. I think the warnings are applicable to areas other than amorous passion as well. Notably, in reference to Christ, the word passion is also linked with suffering. Passion is fueled by desire, which is not necessarily a bad thing, assuming the desire is God-given and God-focused. But passion, while intense and a good motivator, is often emotional, heady and impulsive; it can cause tunnel-vision and narrow our mind-set. If we find ourselves in passion’s grip, it might be a flag to take a step back and check to be sure our motives are pure and our foundational intention is to bring God glory.

I love that Erik attributes leadership of the ‘movement’ to Jesus. If we look at his life and how he was moved, it was more by compassion than mere passion. I believe the difference stems in being moved by love for others above our personal desires. Compassion comes at a gut/heart level, bypassing the murky, ego-laden, bogs of the brain. In the case of building a movement, for example, passion might lead us to think our vision is *the* vision, then try to intellectually formulate how to achieve said vision (and to Erik’s point, subsequently feel isolated by the fact that others don’t share your passion, i.e. ‘complain’). Compassion, on the other hand, leads us to see the needs of others through Christ’s eyes; it is satisfied solely by doing the work of the Father, one interaction at a time… as Erik put it so well, “celebrating every single changed life.”

I’m not poo-pooing passion or dreaming big, nor boldness of action, but have been learning (through some of my own ‘don’t come this way’ experiences) that passion can sometimes cause us to take a wrong turn at Albuquerque. It’s a good idea to check in with the Man with the map every step of the way. Our sense of scale can sometimes throw us off-track… we want so much to be part of something big that we forget we already are, tiny as we may be. It is on that humble foundation–when our passion is fueled by compassion, when we are content to do what He sets before us each day, as a cog in a gear, meshing with another cog in another gear–that His movement builds momentum. Let’s go *that* way!

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