Do you remember the last time somebody tried to set you up or manipulate you for their purposes? Our kids do it when they want something from us they aren’t sure we will agree to. People do it in business…
I am profoundly aware that God created men as passionate beings. We are aggressive by nature and we are at our best in the midst of big pursuits. When you encounter a man who is focused on a dream, couragously stretching himself to bring that dream to reality, you can’t help but be inspired. It is difficult, to be sure, but it takes the best of who a man is and puts it on display. We are all better off when a man pushes through to build a house, build a business, develop a new system or overcome a challenge. Passion is like a powerful engine in a car. It is loaded with horsepower. It rumbles with potential. It must be directed and contained. A powerful engine under skillful control is amazingly productive. That same power recklessly applied creates dramatic accidents.
Notice how the passions of men are on display in 1 Samuel 17 and 18:
- The Israelites assembled and . . . drew up their battle line (17:2)
- The the Philistine (Goliath) said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel!” (17:10)
- “The army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry.” (17:20)
- Daivd asked, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?” (17:26)
- When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger . . .” (17:28)
- “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” (17:32)
- “The LORD who rescued my from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” (17:37)
- David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and . . . he cut of his head . . .” (17:51)
- Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and purused the Philistines . . .” (17:52)
- “And Jonahtan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.” (18:3)
- “Saul was very angry . . .” (18:8) – in response to David’s success.
- “Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” (18:10-11)
- “Saul was afraid of David . . .” (18:12)
I could go on but suffice it to say that every man has a powerful engine of passion in the depths of his soul. We can direct that power into useful, beneficial pursuits or we can direct that power into self-serving, self-destructive activites. The impact of our lives will always be big. The question is whether it will be beneficial.
I believe this is why Jesus challenged the men who followed Him to take a passionate approach to their spiritual growth. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10)
The story Jesus told right before this makes it clear that we are to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking until something happens. Men are at their best when they are passionately, diligently, relentlessly pursuing God and all that God has for them. Your passion will be directed somewhere. Which taget are you aiming at today?