Ephesians 2:10, “We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works that He has prepared in advance for us to do.”
We are all God’s “workmanship” or “poiema” is where we get the word “poem”. We are God’s “poem“, God’s symphony put together to make a beautiful sound. If we are God’s workmanship then we must be a masterpiece. We are not mistakes, we are masterpieces created by the Divine Artist
But what for? – To do good works!
What are good works? – It is not just any good thing that comes along but that which He has “prepared in advance for us to do”. In other words, works that He has wired us to do and given us the passion and ability to do. In short, that which God has called us to do.
The co-founder of Apple, Steve Job said:
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you have not found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
While the idea is to follow your passion but to assume that passion alone will bring your desired success is a dangerous idea. Most successful and fulfilled people I know are passionate people but there are also many passionate people who are not doing anything that is Kingdom advancing. Hence, in order for us to do the “good works” that God has prepared in advance for us to do, here are 4 suggestions.
1. Purpose before Passion
Passion tends to focus on me while the purpose is about pursuing something outside of myself and living for a cause greater than myself. Before we pursue our passion, we need to pursue God. This is because purpose begins in the mind of the Creator.
Purpose precedes production.
Purpose determines the design.
Since we are created by God and for God, our pursuit of purpose must begin with God. Instead of focusing on “This is my passion. I want to do this”, we focus on “You are my God. What do you want me to do?” We move from “Give me what I want” to “If you give me what I want then I will give you what you want”. So clarify your purpose before pursuing your passion.
Being before Doing,
Purpose before Passion,
Person-hood before Performance
John 17:3, “This is life eternal that we may know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.”
Our life’s purpose is rooted in this – to know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Life begins when we come to Christ and it will end when we see Him face to face. In between, it is to know God through the ups and downs of life. This purpose comes before our passion.
2. Practice Deepens Passion
You may be passionate to start with but without practice, you will not grow and gain mastery in your art. We all love shortcuts. We all want to do less and expect to get more. But that is an illusion. We must be willing to do the hard yards and pay our dues.
There was a well-known experiment was done with a class of ceramic potters who were divided into two groups. The first group was told that they will be graded on quality while the other group in quantity. The group to be graded on quantity must produce a huge amount of pots. The surprising result was that the group that produced the best quality pots was the group that focused on quantity
Why? While the quality group worked hard to be perfect, the quantity group was busy making pots after pots. They were practicing again and again. They got better and better.
Practice makes permanent. Right practice makes you permanently right. There is no excellence without the right practice. We don’t try to be excellent, we prepare, we plan, we practice to be excellent.
3. Partnership Grows Passion
To increase our leadership capacity and grow ourselves, we must create partnerships and relational connections that can grow our passion. Passion can make us myopic. We can become too focused on the desires inside us, we lose sight of what is around us. We miss opportunities to connect with those who are more advanced than us. We ceased to learn from others. This can stifle our passion over time. So let us learn from others through mentoring, reading, conferences, etc… Let partnership fuel our passion!
4. Picking Preserves Passion
Passion often dwindles because of multiple focus. Learning to say “No” to some commitments helps us to stay passionate in those commitments we say “yes” to. Good is the enemy of the great.
The blind effect of passion can drive us into multiple commitments that drain us of the very same passion over time. There is nothing more spiritual than to come before God with an open calendar and a yielded spirit. Then we ask God, “What should I add on and what should I take off?” We cannot do everything so we have to pick and pray carefully!
Is passion a bad thing? – No! but to think that it is the be all and end all would be superficial.
Passion is the result of excellence and not the source of it. If we combine our passion with purpose, put in our practice, learn from our partnership and prayerfully pick our commitments; our passion will not dwindle but it will endure. Then we will build a ministry that will last.
In the end, it is not about me and my deep passion, but it is all about Him and His divine purpose for me. People always say, “Follow Your Passion” But Jesus said, “Follow Me!”
Pastor Benny Ho