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Why Following Your Passion May Be the Worst Advice

personPassion is a beautiful part of life.

There’s no getting around it. We admire people with passion. Sometimes we aspire to be like them.

At the same time, passion can be destructive. Passionate people can become bullies and steamroll others. Passionate people can be disruptive to all kinds of processes and situations. Passionate people can end up hurting and/or destroying families, businesses, churches, and more.

Even in Christian circles, you can hear the advice that you need to follow your passion wherever it takes you. The argument goes, you can’t go wrong because it’s something God put inside you.

I can’t see that scripture supports this view though. Consider Proverbs 14:17, “He who foams up quickly and flies into a passion deals foolishly…” Other translations use the word, “quick-tempered.”

There is no discernment or wisdom exercised. Passion says “go” so you go. It doesn’t matter what the wake is because you’ve followed your passion, but it’s a trap.

Do we just live without passion due to the dangers?

I don’t want to live without passion for people or what I’m doing, and I don’t believe God intends that either. Passion becomes a problem when we are controlled by it instead of using it to His glory. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit after all (Galatians 5:22-23).

I can’t help, but think of poor Peter. He was Jesus’ disciple, and in the inner circle, no less. He was strong and passionate to a fault. He got an incredible revelation of Jesus as the Christ and got to walk on water! On the flip side, he tried to rebuke Jesus and insisted vehemently that even if all the others abandoned Him, he would stay with Jesus and die for Him.

You can see throughout the Gospels that God used Peter. He was a born leader and strong, but to get where God intended for him to go, he had to go through a difficult process of seeing his own passion’s limitations and inadequacy. Jesus let him know as much when he told him he would deny Him three times and then,

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again,strengthen your brothers.” But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” –Luke 22:31-33

Passion that’s unchecked may get you ahead, but it’s not going to benefit others in the same way. Jesus tells Peter, “you’re going to come to the end of your abilities and passion, but when you return to me, strengthen those I’ve put in your life.”

God cannot use an unbroken passion, but He will gladly flow through broken passion.

Jesus restored Peter and he continued to have incredible passion. It was different this time though. He wasn’t trying to produce something for Jesus or convince anyone of his commitment or zeal. He no longer had to fight to be “his own man.”

He wasn’t following passion, he was following Jesus.

For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. –Psalm 51:16-17

You may be preoccupied with the appearance or demonstration of passion. God’s not looking for the outward displays, but rather the brokenness that comes from being close to Him.

What are your thoughts? How has passion hurt or helped you in your life?


  1. Today must be “passion” day. Larry (Deuceology) wrote about it as well. I believe passion is important, but should not be the all-guiding force so to speak. I am passionate about cycling, preaching and being a pastor, but it is not my guiding force. Loving Jesus is. And as you state, if it takes running over or knocking people over to get to the top, then it isn’t worth it. One topic. Two views. You guys make it hard on some of us. 🙂 Thanks Jason for making me think.
    Bill (cycelguy) recently posted..Pigeon-holedMy Profile

    • Loving Jesus is the foundation of our life. Anything else falls short. That’s the joy of living! Thanks so much, Bill.

  2. This is a great post, Jason. I like that you pointed out that while passion is a gift from our Father, it can be used, like all gifts, to begin to be worshipped above the One that provides it… a recipe for disaster. I know, passion has taken me a lot of places, but as often to the top of the mountain of pride as any. The fall is painful, but wisdom follows in the healing. Thanks for the reminder. This one spoke to me, brother.

    • I’m so glad, Floyd! These are the thoughts and feelings I’ve been mulling over and praying through. It’s where I am and I want to simply know and experience Jesus. Thanks so much.

  3. Passion in what we do is very important, but as you said here, all should be done for God’s glory. Our gifts come from Him and should be used with that in mind always.
    Great post, Jason!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..A Very Different FridayMy Profile

    • It’s important but we can’t make it “all important.” Good thoughts, Martha! Thank you.

  4. I had 2 thoughts as I read this awesome post,

    1. When I was watching the movie Thor recently (actually I fell asleep about 30 mins into it) I found myself thinking Thor was too head strong and that he needed a lesson in humility. Then I realized how much I am like Thor. I get all caught up in the moment and go full steam ahead, then I ask God to bless what I’m doing. So God has graciously been humbling me and teaching me. And I”m still on the road to learning to surrender my passion and talents to Him and let Him use me how He sees fit.

    2. When reading the scripture in Luke, I like that Jesus didn’t say He prayed that Peter wouldn’t have to go through that horrible testing, instead He prayed that Peter would learn from it and grow so he would be more useable to the Kingdom. I think there are some Christians out there with the false belief that following Christ means they will never be struck with sickness, disease, financial hardships or whatever.

    great post, I really liked it.

    • I just recently watched Thor. 🙂 I think we can all see ourselves in that headstrong, do it yourself character. We may not have the same approach but we want to make our way in the world. That’s the kind of person who is useless to God! He shapes us and molds us into the image of Jesus. Good thoughts on Luke too. Thank you, TC.

      • Well said, so many of the qualities that the world values are not what God values and can use.

  5. Passion, like any emotion, can be a great guide for the direction we are to take in life. God gave us emotions like passion and fear for a reason, and when we use them as guides or gauges, we can see the right road to take. But when we allow them to be in control, to drive the car so to speak, we get into trouble because they often don’t stop long enough to listen to God and know the right decisions to make. I used to live a life direction completely by emotions like passion, and I ended up in a pit of depression. Learning from the climb out of the pit, we need to not let emotions be in control but instead to exist as guides. When our focus is on Jesus, emotions provide a terrific way to know where He is directing us.
    Kari Scare recently posted..Dress for Success in RelationshipsMy Profile

    • Great thoughts. I’m with you, Kari. Thanks so much.

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