God has wired you uniquely — your DNA and what makes you tick is different from mine and those around you. God has a personal plan for your life. Often, when God wants to use you for something significant, He will give you a passion for a cause or area of ministry. This is the H or “heart” in your SHAPE profile by Rick Warren.
Mark Waltz of Granger Community Church says, “Every person has a fondness for a certain cause, need, or group of people. This is reflected in our conversations and is deeply tied to our emotions.” God will put his finger on something in your area of passion to use you for His cause.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23
The Bible instructs us to guard our heart. In the NLT, it goes on to say “for it determines the course of your life.” Where you go next and what you do next may be directly tied to your heart and passion. This is key for the innovative and strange leader. In a blog post at www.9Marks.org, Kevin DeYoung encourages pastors:
“Let your person constantly be refined by the spirit of God, and let the truth of God’s word shine through your own personality.” God is the one who gave you your unique personality and like it or not, He has a purpose and plan for it.
Andy Stanley said, “Vision is always accompanied by strong emotion [or passion]. And the clearer the vision, the stronger the emotion.” (Visioneering p. 10)
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
I believe God gives you a passion, and this becomes a conviction for you. Like Christ, you won’t let anything deter you from what you feel led to do, pursue, or change. Jeremiah had a similar passion and conviction about sharing God’s word and speaking on His behalf. Look at this awesome verse:
But if I say, ‘I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name,’ His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9
A Heart Check
Jeremiah, like so many of God’s servants over the years was living a passionate life based on the conviction he needed to be obedient to God’s call on his life. Jeremiah knew his shape, even though it wasn’t called this then. Do you know your shape? I encourage you to take a SHAPE profile and read more about it in Rick Warren’s best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life.
Rick writes in his Ministry ToolBox: “At Saddleback, we talk about the five different factors that make up a person’s SHAPE: Spiritual gift(s), Heart, Abilities, Personalities, and Experiences. Why is this important? Why should we bother figuring out how God has shaped us? I’ll give you five benefits.”
Warren then promises these five benefits from understanding your SHAPE: reduces stress, increases success, determines how you learn, deepens satisfaction, and builds self-esteem.
Rick Warren says, “The heart represents the core of your desires, hopes, interests, dreams, ambitions, and affections. The heart is the seat and source of all your intentions and motivations, what you love to do and care most about. Your heart is the real you, what you really are, not what others think you are or what circumstances pressure you to be. The heart determines why you say and do what you do, and feel the way you do about it. Just as each of us has a unique heartbeat, so God has given each of us a unique “Emotional Heartbeat” that signifies our passion in living.”
“What you are passionate about reveals your emotional heartbeat—find your passion and you will find your heart. And God looks upon the heart. And God wants you to serve Him out of heartfelt passion, not duty.
There are two basic characteristics that determine when you are serving God from your heart. First is enthusiasm: You will be working out of love and enjoyment. Second is effectiveness: When you do what God has shaped you to love doing, you will get good at it.”
Throughout the course of human history, many have led from their heart and passion and many were thought to be strange — this goes with the territory. The beautiful thing about this concept to me is when you tap into your passion, the ministry, and service you do just flows out and you are less likely to burnout. Leading from passion is a secret to endurance and success in life and ministry. When God wants to do a new thing (innovation) through you, He may very well start with something near and dear to your heart. He may give you a passion for something He wants to change or be done differently. Follow your heart. Follow your passion and be obedient to God’s call.
The following is a book excerpt from Greg Atkinson’s new book Strange Leadership: 40 Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization.