We’re entering the season of March Madness, the favorite time of year for college basketball fans. It’s the month for office bracket pools and for gorging on non-stop hoops on television. At this time of year, it’s a passion as consuming as … college football. Or pro football, pro basketball, major league baseball, golf … choose your sport.
And if you’re not passionate about watching athletes chase balls around a field or court, chances are you're passionate about other things. What am I passionate about? Well, here’s part of my list:
- Movies—especially classics like Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca, and Rear Window.
- Vacation and travel—especially the beach and historical sites.
- Mystery novels. My latest favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dick Francis, and Elizabeth Peters.
- Biographies. Right now I’m reading books on Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. Next up: William Wilberforce, Douglas MacArthur, and Walt Disney.
- Homemade chocolate chip cookies—fresh out of the oven.
- My home state of Oregon. I’ve lived in Arkansas for over 25 years, but I remain an Oregonian through and through.
- Christmas—especially the music.
- Playing golf on a beautiful sunny day. (And I live for the day I finally break 90.)
- Television shows like Castle and Person of Interest. And NCIS … White Collar … Downton Abbey … Hawaii 5-0 … Sherlock … etc., etc.
- Collecting and organizing old family photos and videos.
- Track and field—I grew up in Eugene, Oregon, which calls itself “Track Town.”
You could probably create a similar list of passions—the interests that capture your attention and the activities that fill your free time. The things you like to talk about.
What really matters?
As I look at my list, though, I’m struck by the fact that these are all temporal pleasures. As much as I love playing golf on a sunny vacation day in Oregon while talking about college football and preparing to attend a track meet later in the day, I also know that there are more important things to focus on.
So here’s another list of my passions:
- I’m passionate about God and my relationship with Him. Forty years ago I was a college sophomore with little sense of direction, and God opened my eyes to understand my sin and His provision for that sin through Jesus Christ. My life has never been the same since March of 1974.
- I’m passionate about being a husband, a father, and a grandfather. This year Merry and I celebrate our 35th anniversary, and each year is sweeter than the one before. I’m proud of my two wonderful daughters who are now married as well. And anyone in my department here at FamilyLife knows I’m passionate about my grandson, Carter, who has had me wrapped around his finger ever since he began calling me “Paw Paw.”
- I’m passionate about God’s calling for my life—to use the skills He has given me in writing and editing to influence people for Christ. I love hearing stories about people whose lives are changed after reading something in an article, book, or Bible study that I wrote or edited.
- I’m passionate about being part of an organization that is helping build godly families. In a time when so many people are struggling with their family relationships, I believe God has raised up FamilyLife to provide answers—to point people to the gospel.
My first list of passions consists of my interests. This second list is all about the things of God—and these are the passions I want to define my life.
What are you passionate about?
So what captures your allegiance and inspires your passion? Have you discovered God’s calling for your life?
You probably could develop an initial list just as I did of your interests and hobbies and greatest joys. The things you love doing.
But beyond that, what are the most important things in your life? If you stripped away all the items on your initial list, what would remain? What are your passions that really matter?
Many of you could answer these questions, but some of you may have thought little about your passions. Here are a few questions to spark some fresh thinking.
1. Read Matthew 22:35-40. Are you satisfied with your passion for God and your relationship with Him? What needs to change so that He becomes your focus in life? And who are the “neighbors” in your life that you should love as yourself?
2. How do you want people to remember you?
3. What would others say you are most passionate about?
4. What convictions has God given you?
5. How has God gifted you?
6. What do you want to accomplish as a spouse? As a parent?
7. How have you seen God use you to influence others?
We’d love to hear from you on this topic. What’s your passion? Leave a comment below or e-mail us, and I’ll share your answers in an article soon.
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We’ve put together a collection of articles on the topic of “What’s Your Passion?” Here’s our list:
Dennis Rainey on his passion for watching God change lives.
Bob Lepine on his passion believing the gospel every day.
Ron Deal on ministering to blended families.
Todd Nagel on men encouraging men.
John Majors on leaving a legacy to his children.
Dennis and Barbara Rainey on thriving in the prime time of life.
Scott and Sherry Jennings on how God is using them to help other marriages.
Pastor Steve Clifton on ministering to married couples in his church.
Shelley Bergeron on why she’s passionate about helping other adoptive moms.
Dannah Gresh on protecting her marriage.
Gina Smith on the gift of motherhood.