Thursday, May 15, 2008

Final Thoughts on Passion

Expanding on Proverbs 14:30, I checked thirteen translations. Two use jealousy, three use passion, and the other eight translate the passage using envy. The Hebrew word hanq occurs 39 times in the Old Testament according to Strong's. Only once, Proverbs 14:30, is the word passion chosen for the English rendering by the NASB. The definition of hanq according to Strong’s is as follows:

ardor, zeal, jealousy

  1. ardor, jealousy, jealous disposition (of husband)
    1. sexual passion
  2. ardor of zeal (of religious zeal)
    1. of men for God
    2. of men for the house of God
    3. of God for his people
  3. ardor of anger
    1. of men against adversaries
    2. of God against men
  4. envy (of man)
  5. jealousy (resulting in the wrath of God)

Though, I did not intend to post about how a translation choice by translators affects the meaning of Scripture, it certainly comes to mind as something needing discussion! There is a significant difference between jealousy and envy. Passion as a whole encompasses a larger meaning, since jealousy and envy could be simply sub-topics. In Proverbs, there is little contextual evidence to support connotations.

Back to my Sunday experience. The pastor was passionate, and I felt myself guarded instead of drawn in by him. Was this jadedness guiding me or the Holy Spirit? I found myself listening attentively but analytically. Then I heard what I would categorize as an obvious contradiction. He had been speaking of a move of God among this particular group. He emphasized that all the glory is Jesus! Then he mentioned how God removes His glory, when a body is disobedient. God removes Jesus?

Yes, I recognize the simple semantics issues involved. The speaker had no intention to indicate that God pulls the Presence of Jesus away from a body of believers in the face of disobedience. Semantically, however, he said exactly that. The pulling back of the “glory” by God, when the glory is Jesus, is a violation of Scripture that promises He will never leave us or forsake us. Or so my mind works.

Will folks who are following a leader’s passion accept such statements? Possibly. Is this a reasonable state of affairs? Reasonable or not, it happens continually.

Passion cuts both ways, evil and good. We have crimes of passion in the courts. We know passion born of lust leads to sinful acts. We call Christ’s walk to Golgotha and His Crucifixion, His passion.

The blocked expression of passion within the Body probably exposes some folks to confusion and even temptation. The freedom to release and /or express passion is healthy. Passion can be manipulative, individually and corporately. On we could go. Some passion is rottenness in our bones and is in sharp contrast to a tranquil heart.

We need the wisdom of God to rule our hearts is my take on the issue. Life in the Spirit is our salvation.

Blessed is the name of Jesus, and I rejoice in His Presence.


Steve Sensenig said...

We need the wisdom of God to rule our hearts is my take on the issue.

Right! And I am constantly amazed at how different that looks than what I was brought up to view as Christianity.

What we often view as "passion" is not necessarily tied to the wisdom of God.

Praise God, however, that He has promised to give us His wisdom if we ask for it! It's not far off that we can't reach it, and it's not so mysterious that we can't ever know it.

Jimazing said...

Great posts. Oh, if I could only go back to the "good old days" with what I know now... I understand better now how over the years I have experienced unhealthy reactions to the passion in others. When someone I respect is passionate for the Lord in an certain area, I tend to believe that I should be be passionate about it too. I'm learning ever so slowly to understand that our passions are part of who we are. The things I am passionate for or against say more about who I am than the thing I'm passionate about. It's not about being right or wrong

One of my passions is accuracy in communication. It drives me crazy when someone doesn't check their facts or is inconsistent in their presentation. Words like "always" and "never" immediately raise my hackles. I think I would have been uncomfortable with the inconsistency in this speaker's words too. That being said, as I learn how personal my passions are, it helps me to give grace to those who step on them. My feelings aren't really about them after all.