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What’s the Difference Between Purpose and Passion?

Campers running

“Why are we in this life? What can I do to have meaning?” Both of these are questions most of us ask ourselves at some point. Kara brings clarity to these ponderings through scripture, so we can remind our kids of this truth as well.


…Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.

Isaiah 43:7


I’ve noticed a trend in myself and in my generation. Us millennials are all about passion and purpose, but I notice how paralyzed we become when we experience misalignment in these two things.

When things get hard, we check out and run away to find something else. We often assume passion and purpose are one in the same, and can’t be separated. But, are we always passionate about our purpose?

The purpose of being a mother is to care for children…it brings glory to God when a mom does so.  But I can’t imagine she enjoys changing poopy diapers or getting thrown up on. The same goes for a dad seeking to provide for his family, but doesn’t get excited about mowing lawns.

What is the difference between purpose and passion, and how can we respond when they’re at odds?  

  1. What is our purpose? Psalm 139 says God created us, knit us together and ordained the days of our lives. He did this, for His glory. Our purpose at its broadest sense is to glorify God. And yet, He formed us uniquely as men and women with different personalities, experiences, giftings and roles. So how did He design us individually to bring glory to His name? God gives us a solid framework to start with in Scripture, is available to relate to us through prayer and has provided the Holy Spirit to be our guide.
  2. What about passion? Passion is a buzz word used today to describe what we enjoy. We are passionate about college football, vanilla lattes and making an impact. There are certain things that make us excited about living. However, , when I Googled ‘definition of passion’, Merriam-Webster’s first definition of passion is, “the sufferings of Christ the night of the Last Supper and his death”. Passion… suffering. Could it be that we’re getting the term passion all wrong? What if passion DOES regard what we love, not because of the pleasure it brings but because of the cost we’re willing to pay for it?
  3. Are they one in the same? Should we expect to always be excited about what we’re called to? Based on Luke 22:42-44, it doesn’t appear that Jesus was thrilled about what God was asking Him to do, and yet He was obedient unto death. But was He passionate about it? Yes. He loved us so much, He gave His life on our behalf. God doesn’t always call us to easy things or fun things or things that give us pleasure. He has given us a purpose, His glory, and His glory beckons us to lay down our life and follow in the footsteps of Jesus, and in that there is guaranteed suffering.

 Jesus has shown us the way of passion amidst purpose. He didn’t run away when things got hard, instead He submitted himself to God’s call, and became obedient even when it cost Him everything. 

Camper Corner

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