05 October 2012

The Right Kind of Passion

Every Friday, to commemorate the stellar contributions to internet apologetics and punditry made by our founder and benefactor, Phil Johnson, the unpaid and overworked staff at TeamPyro is posting a "best of Phil" post to give your weekend that necessary kick.

This excerpt is from this blog in 2009, after Phil spoke at the FIRE Conference.  He introduces the topic of godly passions.

As usual, the comments are closed.

here's no shortage of passion in the world today—but for the most part it is utterly misplaced passion. Passion for all the wrong things. The wrong kind of passion.

The one pervasive passion that most seems to dominate the world today (especially in the realm of politics and power) is anger. It's a destructive anger, too, usually driven by greed, a lust for power, or some other self-interest. The postmodern world is full of "the wrath of man[, which] worketh not the righteousness of God" (James 1:20). That's why terrorism is one of the biggest threats in the world today.

The worldwide glut of anger also explains why (even in a democratic country like ours) the political process is so dysfunctional and divided. Despite all the talk we hear about peace and brotherhood, it often seems as if anger has become the main driving passion in the affairs of men and nations.

That's a disturbing example of the wrong kind of passion.

On the other hand, there's plenty of positive passion all around, but it seems like whatever good feelings there are in this world are mostly reserved for trivial things—sports, entertainment, recreation, and the pursuit of personal happiness.

It's one of the supreme ironies of our culture that we're expected to be deliriously excited about worldly trifles and passing fads, but we're generally discouraged from taking serious things seriously. Above all, serious devotion to God is generally seen as a sign of alarming imbalance. An earnest worshiper of God may even be regarded by society as a deranged person—especially if he declares his faith.

Yet you can be as fanatical as you like about your favorite sports team; you can be wholly obsessed with some celebrity or pop star you have never even met; or you can thoroughly immerse yourself in some mindless fantasy game—and no one bats an eye. Celebrity worship is the real religion of our culture. A handful of highly-revered dead celebrities have the very same status in our culture as the mythological Greek gods who filled the pantheon of Rome in the first century.

That's a sad example of passion for the wrong things.

If there's one thing we ought to be passionate about, it's the glory of God. There is no greater reality in all the universe. There is nothing more worthy of our deepest, most heartfelt emotion than God's glory. This is the very end for which we were created: to relish the glory of God, to reflect that glory, and to rejoice in the privilege of basking in and declaring that glory to the world.

God's glory is everything we ought to love. It summarizes and incorporates everything that really matters from eternity past to eternity future. It's the only thing that makes this world and all its evil worth enduring. It's the one thing that makes sense of everything else. It's what God created everything for in the first place, and its where all creatures find their true and ultimate purpose.

Why would we be more passionate about anything else?

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