According to legend, when an Ancient Greek died, his friends and relatives did not examine his possessions or his wealth. They did not judge his life based on his merits, his achievements, or his social status. They asked only one question:
Did he have passion?
Whether or not this is historically true, I love the idea behind it because it gave the man the freedom to fail. It gave him the liberty to attempt great things he was passionate about, and even if he failed, what mattered was that he tried; that he was passionate.
Imagine if we didn’t judge by social standing, or by cards in a wallet, but by how passionate people are about things their hearts pulled them toward.
My friend Harris is passionate about good coffee so he decided that’s what he wanted to do with his life. It won’t make him rich but it will keep him happy because he loves it. I love spending time with Harris because his zeal and zest for life is contagious.
But don’t we all know people that don’t seem to have any passions? They may have the money and the house and even the looks, but they lack some sort of tangible passion.
What’s Your Passion?
Is viewing porn the highlight of your day?
Does it give you the rush of downhill skiing, or the thrill of chasing a tornado? Perhaps your greatest desire is to be an award-winning chef, or write a best-selling novel, but instead you have settled for porn — for a 20-second dopamine rush that both gratifies and quiets the deeper longings within your soul.
One of the biggest mistakes most people make when addressing a porn addiction is assuming that the problem is purely sexual.
For much of my own life, I assumed that once the wedding day arrived and the rings were in place, this struggle would magically evaporate, but I have discovered that this can’t be so. (If it were true, would we continue to see so many marriages destroyed by pornography?)
Addressing a porn addiction starts by zooming out and examining every aspect of our life, and one of the most important areas is our passion.
A Life Without Passion
Society has given us permission to live lives devoid of passion. Advertisers want us to think that their products will make us happy. Movies offer a momentary escape from our boring real lives. TV shows offer us interpersonal connection with characters for a season at a time.
All this ends up doing is polishing our exterior and distracting us while the real me withers away inside. When a man or woman suppresses their passions, whatever they may be, they will quickly go looking for a substitute.
Awhile back I sat down with a friend of mine who is one of the foremost experts on sexual struggle. I brought up that I was struggling with porn and he asked me what seemed like a random question.
“If you had all the resources in the world, all the time in the world, and you couldn’t fail, what would you do?”
I thought for a second, then said something about traveling and writing and teaching, quickly followed by but that won’t ever happen for me.
In two seconds, I had quenched my soul’s permission to dream. I had, in essence, told it that my dreams and goals will never be realized, so I should buckle up for a life of slaving away at things I hate doing.
Who wouldn’t want an escape from that kind of life?
Living With Passion
My friend was not asking me what I want to do on the weekends to escape from my real life, or what I could dream about doing for the next fifty years, while sitting in a cubicle. He was trying to invite me to life. He was saying, Okay, so you know what you’re passionate about, now why aren’t you doing anything about it?
God doesn’t call us to a bored life (Romans 8:14-16).
My dad sporadically disappears for a day and resurfaces later, telling us about the 14,000-foot mountain he just summited. My mom spends her free days gardening in the yard. Laura is a nurse who thinks delivering babies is the most beautiful thing in the world, so she does it every day.
These are not perfect people, but they are people who have examined themselves, discovered what they are passionate about, and do those things. You won’t hear a passionate person tell you porn is “the high point” of their day.
Why would they need a substitute for passion?
Are you struggling against porn? Quit looking at the problem itself, because chances are, the roots are much deeper than an unfulfilled sex life. Ask yourself, What makes me feel alive? And go do it.
Live in such a way that at your funeral, your friends and family will gather round, and in one unified sigh declare,
“He lived a passionate life.”