Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Matthew 22:37 (NLT)

It’s the driving force behind the athlete who spends hours perfecting his/her skills; or the parent who spends every waking moment working to give their children every physical thing they can possible give them; or the professional who thinks nothing of working 70-80 hours a week making sure the business succeeds; or the lover who compromises their values in order to stay in a relationship; some even devote their entire lives to religion and spirituality in hopes of gaining it.

That driving force is passion and its intended goal is to give us the one thing we cherish more than anything else, the feeling we belong and are loved. Many a family has been destroyed or lives lost in pursuit of the goal passion drives us towards.

The problem with passion is it often misguides our thinking about what is important and how to get there. Medals and trophies only give you satisfaction for so long and then they become empty. How many athletes’ lives have been destroyed because even though they were at the top of their game, it wasn’t enough to satisfy the longing in their heart?

It’s not just athletics or business or family relationships that bring us emptiness though. Religion and spirituality have the same effect.

Passion misguides us into thinking that in order to become more spiritual and closer to God we need to do more things, gain more experiences, give up the things we enjoy and speak out against the evil of the world. There’s a misconception that the louder our voices of protest, the stronger our passion for ‘what’s right’, the more spiritual we become and the more God will be pleased with our actions.

One day Jesus is confronted by experts in spirituality. The Pharisees knew better than anyone how to load up the guilt and increase the conditions for ‘spirituality’. But all their rules and regulations couldn’t bring happiness, peace or closeness to God. It’s the same way today. Religion never has and never will bring satisfaction to the driving force of passion in our souls.

Jesus Christ offers us a better way. God doesn’t want your protection, he wants your passion. He’s not impressed with your voices of protest or songs of praise or your pious lifestyle. He wants your heart. Religion measures your worth by your actions. God measures your worth by your heart, your inner being, and your strongest desires.

But he also understands the battle going in inside for your soul. Do you really want to satisfy the hungry beast within that we call passion? Jesus says it’s all about loving God.

PRAYER: Father God, I’ve been duped into believing that my actions will gain happiness, even my actions for you. I’m finding that actions only bring temporary relief at best from the emptiness of my soul. Forgive me for the futile attempts to draw close to you. Empower me to rest in the fact that my life is fulfilled by simply loving you. In Jesus name, Amen.