Transform: Following Your Passion Is A BAD Idea

Transform: Following Your Passion Is A BAD Idea June 1, 2016

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(The following was originally published at

I’m very concerned about the deception of all the “Follow Your Passion” stuff I hear out there today. I get it… we all want to do something with our lives that is fulfilling and meaningful. CHECK.
But for a follower of Christ, we have to think a bit more critically about those kinds of statements to ensure that they align with the purpose and will of our Savior. I twinge when I hear believers urging others to follow their passion. If we’re not careful to delineate between God-given passions and other passions, some, especially those early in on their faith, may be lead astray. To delve deeper into this important subject, let’s look at James 4:1-10.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your passions that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your passions.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace.  That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

If Jesus is your Lord, you can’t just “follow YOUR passion.” It’s not YOUR passion that matters. We are not the lords of our lives. God has given us His Holy Spirit to function for his purposes. This is not for us to fulfill our own passions; it is for what He has equipped us and designed us to do. When we humble ourselves and recognize God, then we can receive grace and can complete His desires. When God tells us to cleanse our hands, mourn, and wail, he is characterizing repentance. If we follow our own passions, instead of the passions God has set out for you, then we must repent. If we follow a mindset that focuses on our own desires, we’re doing it the wrong way. We should first seek out the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Then, all that we need will be added to us. As Psalm 37:4 says,

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Jesus is Lord for a reason. He’s knows how He wants to use your life. He created you for that specific purpose.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)

That may mean that the passions you “naturally” have are exactly in line with what He wants you to be doing. But we have to take the time to examine it, to be sure.

Image: Rukeme Alao
Image: Rukeme Alao

And to say “Follow Your Passion” to a person who doesn’t know Christ at all… that’s like saying “Do whatever you want,” when the reality is that self-centered living is what keeps most of us away from Christ in the first place. We’re unwilling to give our life over, to make Him Lord of the life we live. But that’s EXACTLY what has to happen in order for life to be truly fulfilled.
So, “Follow Your Passion?” Not on your life.

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