Read: 2 Samuel 13:22-18:9
After David sinned with Bathsheba, the Prophet Nathan warned the king that the sword would never depart from his house (2 Samuel 12:10, “Now, therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because [you have not only despised My command, but] you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife” AMP). And true to the prediction, David endured domestic problems from that day on – deception, adultery, incest, even murder.
David never figured out how to deal with the rebellion effectively; it was as though his anointing and authority had left him. No one saw this more clearly than his son, Absalom.
When Amnon raped his sister Tamar and David did nothing about it, Absalom became irate (2 Samuel 13:22, “Absalom never spoke to Amnon, good word or bad, because he hated him for raping his sister Tamar” CEB). His fury grew the longer the king delayed justice. Further, Absalom tried and failed to get an audience with his father. It was as though David had abandoned his role as spiritual leader over his family.
Finally, Absalom could take it no longer. He got everyone’s attention by committing two crimes. First, he avenged his sister Tamar by murdering Amnon; and for this crime he fled (2 Samuel 13:37-38, “David was sad for a long time because Amnon was dead. Absalom had run away to Geshur, where he stayed for three years with King Talmai the son of Ammihud” CEV). After he was permitted to return, Absalom got angry with General Joab and set his field on fire (2 Samuel 14:30, “Therefore Absalom said to his servants, See, Joab’s field is near mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire. So Absalom’s servants set the field afire” AMP).
Despite his actions, however, Absalom still couldn’t get the fatherly attention he wanted so desperately from David.
Now, past the boiling point, he used his PASSION to sabotage his father’s leadership. He played politics and convinced the people to bring their lawsuits to him. He lobbied for support of his leadership. And finally he raised an army to rebel against the king.
In the end, Absalom died as a Maverick Leader (Maverick – “a person who refuses to follow the customs or rules of a group”) whose PASSION went awry (“away from the expected course or position”)!
As you study his story in 2 Samuel Chapters 13-18, look for those lessons about PASSION gone bad! A few highlights you’ll learn are the following:
1. PASSION WITHOUT PERSPECTIVE BRINGS DEATH (2 Samuel 13:22-29).
2. PASSION WILL FIND EXPRESSION, IN EITHER HEALTHY OR UNHEALTHY WAYS (2 Samuel 14:28-30).
3. PEOPLE FOLLOW PASSION OVER ORTHODOXY (“theory, doctrine or practice”), EVEN WHEN IT’S UNWISE (2 Samuel 15:1-12).
4. LEADERS WHO FOLLOW PASSION DEFEAT LEADERS WHO FOLLOW PROTOCOL (2 Samuel 15:13-14).
5. SELF-CENTERED PASSION ALWAYS SKEWS (“makes bias or distorts”) THE JUDGMENT OF A LEADER (2 Samuel 16:22).
6. UNCHANNELED AND UNBRIDLED PASSION DAMAGES EVERYONE NEAR IT (2 Samuel 17:18).
7. WHEN PASSION OUTWEIGHS WISDOM, LEADERS SABOTAGE THEMSELVES (2 Samuel 18:9).
THE GOOD NEWS:
Absalom represents a Leader who Can’t Bridle His PASSION.
When a Leader Embraces PASSION BEFORE He Learns Submission, Trouble Always Follows!
Does this mean we should condemn PASSION? Absolutely Not!
Consider the Benefits of PASSION:
1. PASSION IS THE FIRST STEP TO ACHIEVEMENT;
2. PASSION INCREASES YOUR WILLPOWER;
3. PASSION CHANGES YOU; and
4. PASSION MAKES THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE.
PASSION Helps Develop Your Leadership! PASSION must, however, Pour From the Heart of a Leader Who is Wise, Accountable, Submissive, and Unselfish.
Remember: Absalom’s Own PASSION Ruined His Own Cause!
Now For A Better View of PASSION!
Read: Luke 3:2-22
The Best Single Word to Describe John the Baptizer might be the Word “PASSION”!
John’s PASSION began even before he was born! He leaped in his mother’s womb when Mary spoke of her pregnancy (Luke 1:41, “And it occurred that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit” AMP).
John’s PASSION for God grew so great, that before he began his public ministry, he lived alone in the desert, wearing camel’s hair and a leather belt and eating locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:4, “This same John’s garments were made of camel’s hair, and he wore a leather girdle about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey” AMP).
John was a Radical and Unafraid to Let Anyone Know It!
John needed PASSION to fulfill his God-Given calling. Truth is, every Pioneer needs PASSION. Pioneers cannot be satisfied with mere maintenance, for they have nothing yet to maintain. They create from nothing. The common folk often view them as eccentric (“unconventional and slightly strange”) – but their PASSION Attracts Other Pioneers!
SO, WHAT GAVE JOHN HIS PASSION?
1. HE SPENT TIME IN SOLITUDE: Before John began his public ministry, he lived in the wilderness and spent much time with God. He boiled over with the Presence of God and could hardly stay quiet.
2. HE FELT CONSUMED WITH PASSION: John knew of Jesus’ identity and His soon advent. John urgently tried to prepare the way for Him.
3. HE POSSESSED A MAGNETIC TEMPERAMENT AND WIRING: John is described as a voice crying and as an exhorter (Luke 3:4, 18, “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, The voice of one crying in the wilderness [shouting in the desert]: Prepare the way of the Lord, make His beaten paths straight…So with many other [various] appeals and admonitions he preached the good news (the Gospel) to the people” AMP). Like a magnet, he repelled some and attracted others.
4. HE POSSESSED A STRONG SENSE OF JUSTICE: When people asked John what they should do, he told them to do justice (Luke 3:10-14, “The crowd replied, “What do you want us to do?” “If you have two coats,” he replied, “give one to the poor. If you have extra food, give it away to those who are hungry” Even tax collectors – notorious for their corruption – came to be baptized and asked, “How shall we prove to you that we have abandoned our sins?” “By your honesty,” he replied. “Make sure you collect no more taxes than the Roman government requires you to” “And us,” asked some soldiers, “what about us?” John replied, “Don’t extort money by threats and violence; don’t accuse anyone of what you know he didn’t do; and be content with your pay!” AMP). This hunger for justice drove him. He wouldn’t sit still until he saw results.
5. HE SAW THINGS AS BLACK AND WHITE: Like others with prophetic gifts, John saw most issues as either black or white. While this sounds narrow to most pastors or businesspersons, this is part of what gave John his PASSION.
6. HE FELT DISSATISFIED WITH ANYTHING BUT ACTION: John was a doer. He didn’t want people to merely talk about repentance and faith. He told the Pharisees they should bring forth fruit to prove their repentance.
PASSION Makes For An Effective Ministry. So How Can You Increase Your PASSION?
1. TAKE YOUR TEMPERATURE: Get an honest assessment from colleagues and coworkers: Are you PASSIONATE about what you do? Truth is, You can’t start a fire in your church or business unless it first burns in you.
2. RETURN TO YOUR FIRST LOVE: Many Leaders allow life to push them off track. Which is why you should always think back to when you first began your ministry or career. What drove you? What made you enthusiastic?
3. ASSOCIATE WITH PEOPLE OF PASSION: Birds of a feather flock together. Hot coals stay hot when they remain in the fire. Find PASSIONATE people and let them rub off on you.
Remember: John Served God With Gusto! So, Make Sure You Do The Very Same!
“There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart…pursue those…that’s PASSION”
“Chase your PASSION, not your pension” (Denis Waitley)
“Finding your PASSION isn’t just about careers and money. It’s about finding your authentic self. The one you’ve buried beneath other people’s needs” (Kristin Hannah)
“We must act out of PASSION before we can feel it” (Jean Paul Sartre)
“Our PASSION is our strength” (Billie Joe Armstrong)
“Chase down your PASSION like it’s the last bus of the night” (Terri Guillemets)
“Follow your PASSION, and success will follow you”
“PASSION is not hereditary. It is an individual journey. The joy you receive cannot be passed on to anyone” (Zoie Hamilton)
“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without PASSION” (Hebbel)
“If you are not pursuing your PASSION, then you really have nothing to lose” (Celestine Chua)
“Talent is your vehicle. PASSION is your fuel and potential is your destination” (Terry Mante)
“Talent isn’t much without PASSION”
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a PASSION come together”
“Light yourself on fire with PASSION and people will come from miles to watch you burn” (John Wesley)
“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is PASSION. But cosmetics are easier to buy” (Yves Saint-Laurent)
“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your PASSION. For your PASSION will lead you right into your purpose.” (Bishop T.D. Jakes)
“There is no PASSION to be found in playing small…in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living” (Nelson Mandela)
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the PASSION to reach for the stars to change the world” (Harriet Tubman)
“PASSION is very important; if you don’t love what you do then you’re probably doing the wrong job” (Kenny Florian)
“Take your PASSION and make it happen” (Irene Cara)
“To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a PASSION that it becomes a reality” (Anita Roddick)
“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their PASSION” (Martha Graham)