In The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren defines passion as the "bundle of desires, hopes, interests, ambitions, dreams, and affections you have... What you love to do and what you care about most."
Our passions are unique gifts to us from God. We feel alive and fulfilled when we engage in them. They excite us, and they challenge us.
But what about when we O.D. on our passions? It goes without saying that we are very prone in our culture to turning a hobby into a god. Idolatry means that we elevate something to the status of God in our lives. Romans 1:25 says it like this: "they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen." The picture is very relevant, you take something that God has made for your enjoyment and you begin to worship the creation more than the God who created it in the first place.
What could be the Idol in your life? What do you think about when you have free time? When you have free time on the internet what are you searching and studying about? Where do you go when you need comfort and encouragement?
Idols can be anything, it can be a hobby that you love to take part in, it can be a job that feel your worth is defined by, it can be a relationship that you find your acceptance in. None of these things are bad in and of themselves, but they can easily usurp the supreme place in your life that only God deserves. The tricky part is walking the line between our passions and becoming idolatrous.
I have found that guys struggle with having a hobby and it not turning into a god. Last week I went to a large IDPA match. IDPA is a competitive shooting sport which I compete in, and it is a hobby that I enjoy. While at the match I was talking to one of the other shooters and he asked me if I get the opportunity to shoot very many local matches each month. I told him that at most I get to shoot one local match every month; and I asked how often he shoots. He responded by telling me that he tries to shoot at least a match 3 times a week but usually 4; and once he retires he hopes to shoot even more. He told me that he shoots on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Wow, that is a lot of shooting, and no doubt takes a great deal of time.
As I thought over our conversation, I can think of so many guys who fall into this trap. Something starts out a hobby, and then it begins to turn into a god that controls your life. I have seen it with fishing, with sports, with fitness, with jobs etc. and it is never worth the price that it costs. The Lord demands to be our only God (Exodus 10:3-6). I realize this means I may not be the most competitive at my hobby; but that's okay. It scares me to think that I could ever put a hobby over my Lord, or my wife, or my children... It is simply not worth it.
So my challenge is for each of us to look into our lives, and pay special attention to the things that could be manifesting a spot as a god. Decide now what your priorities are going to be; and who you are going to live for. I want to make choices now that I will not regret in the future.