Recently, during a speaking engagement, it was discovered the individuals we were working with all shared something in common – they had forgotten, or given up on their dreams. Why? Because they were in survival mode. They were struggling to simply make ends meet and whatever passion they once had was gone. The opportunity, of course, was to help them where they were. To help them realize there is hope out of their daily scramble and there was a place in their lives to live passionately once again.
The lesson for us all is realizing how quickly our passions can get derailed and/or distracted when we focus solely on our circumstances and feelings. Therefore, it’s vital we prepare ourselves to guard against these derailments and identify those areas most likely to lure us away from true fulfillment:
Indulgence: Whether it’s shopping, buying bigger houses, or finer cars, being able to indulge in the finer things can definitely fuel our passions. Yet, as many can testify to, whatever satisfaction our indulgences may provide, they are temporary at best. For soon, that new car smell wears off, that new toy loses its luster and today’s best is eventually outdated. Clearly, all indulgences aren’t bad, but they can’t ever be the purpose behind our passions (Proverbs 25:16). Therefore, the best way to keep them in check is to define our priorities ahead of time and realize a person’s purpose is never defined by what they have, but Who they are in Christ.
Enlightenment: We have all seen examples of people who achieve worldly success only to find there is something still missing in their lives. So, they begin searching for a knowledge and enlightenment to fill the emptiness in their souls. Yet, this too ends in frustration for nothing can fill the deep void we all have placed within us other than Christ. Thus, earthly knowledge may fuel our passions for a time, but only when information is transformed into Godly wisdom that is grounded in Christ can the burning in our souls be relieved (Proverbs 2:6).
Enjoyment: Another area that can fuel our passions for a time is the pursuit of enjoyment. Clearly, enjoying things in this life isn’t a bad thing, but when it becomes a priority over our other responsibilities, it can begin hindering our impact, influence and integrity. For these three areas of our life operate like ripples in a pond, and none of us can escape them. So, let us consider the impact we are making with our resources and who we are influencing during our time. Does the integrity of our “walk” match that of our talk? Or, have we prioritized our personal enjoyment over all other areas of responsibility, leaving behind little impact and influence beyond the concentration of me, myself and I (Matthew 5:16)?
Application: “Ice Sculptures?” – Psalm 119:36-37
In this life, we have all been given talents. The question is how are we investing them? Like ice sculptures, a lot of effort, passion, vision, creativity and time goes into created them, and the results are truly magnificent. Some ice sculptures are literally breathtaking. However, what eventually happens to the best of them over time? They melt. Likewise, we can put everything we have been given by God into creating our own ice sculptures, but they too will eventually fade. Our lives possess more value than to be spent building only temporary pleasures – especially when Christ’s abundant life beckons.