“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:” (1 Peter 1:13-14 KJV)
Lusts… The ESV uses the term “passions”. We often use this term in a sexualized connotation, but I am not sure that is always accurate. There are several hobbies that many are passionate about. There are many sports that take a great deal of training to really accomplish a significant goal. Preparing a really good meal is the passion of several backyard chefs that I know, and they well deserve a gold star for the quality of their BBQ. Could we actually be so involved in high quality disciplined work on those things which we really enjoy that give us physical health, exercise for the mind, or even savory meals that we put aside that which God has for us to accomplish?
Jump past that portion of the argument where we wonder what it is that God has really called us to. Assume for a moment that you know (or are reasonably sure that you know) what that is, and ask yourself the question “who defines my passion”? Have I defined my passion and hope God can use it, or has God remade me such that my passions are now different? Or even worse, am I hiding in my passion hoping that God will not find me there?
Why “lusts”? Is it because that in our evil nature, that if it is from within us, it cannot be a real love? Is this a reflection of the difference in inherent natures? Where no matter how pure my passion is; it cannot end in a purity that a passion that God has created within me can? The love from God is first patient and kind, but the deeper that I go with my passion neither patience nor kindness is to be found. Rather perfection and exclusion develop. The love from God is not envious, boastful, or arrogant. The better I am at my passion, I become more envious of others who have an opportunity that I do not. I become more boastful as I clutter my shelves with awards, put bumper stickers on my vehicle, and membership cards in my wallet. I increase in arrogance specifically about my accomplishments. The love from God is not rude nor does it insist on it’s own way. The more talent I develop the less any other way other than mine is acceptable, and you have not yet even seen rudeness blossom until you try to compete with me. Is there a pattern developing here? “Lusts” is a much more appropriate term for what my passions away from God become. “Love” is what I learn when I set those aside and only pick things back up at his bidding.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 12:24 KJV)