Well, we're on the final stretch of the first chapter of 1 Peter. I have felt such a personal blessing that I've been able to go through this material. Maybe I could say it this way. 1 Peter, chapter 1, is one of the best gospel rants in all of Scripture. It is just like Peter is putting out the material so fast. It's like he can't get the words out fast enough; he's so excited about the gospel he wants these suffering people to get. And right now, we want to talk about passions, the problem with passions.
We want to think about this messy world of passions. So, let me read from 1 Peter, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.” A passion is a motivating emotion, and we really couldn't do anything in our lives if we hadn't been given the gift of passions. I’ve seen it even in my granddaughters. My granddaughter, Lilly, for some reason, is deeply passionate about Star Wars. She comes home from school, and she immediately puts on her Darth Vader helmet, and is in character until she goes to bed. And she finds such joy in doing this.
Our ability to be passionate is really one of God's good gifts for us. Every commitment, every calling, every achievement, requires passion. You could sort of talk about passion this way. Passion is desire, plus motivation, plus joy. That's passion. The problem is that we can't be ruled anymore by our passions because sin has made our passions, at best, a mixed blessing. I like the way Peter talks about this. He says, “Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.” What is he talking about?
He means before you knew God, before God is the central focus of your life rather than whatever your heart wants to do, the question is, “What would God want me to do in this situation?” Before your former ignorance, before you knew His Word, because His Word needs to be a greater guide in our lives than this combination of desire, motivation, and joy. It's just not biblical, although I hear Christians say this all the time to say, “Well, just follow your heart.” That's not good advice because your heart will take you places that you should not go.
Think about this, and this is what Peter is arguing, this is Paul Tripp’s way of saying this, “Your heart is only as trustworthy as what controls it.” Your heart is only as trustworthy as what controls it. If God controls your heart, then your heart is trustworthy. If the Word controls your heart, then your heart is trustworthy. If the glory of God controls your heart rather than self-glory, then your heart is trustworthy. But your heart is not always uniformly trustworthy because passions for things that are outside of God's will, even if in a moment, will grip us.
Peter wants us to know that passions, shaped by God, shaped by His grace, shaped by His Word, are a beautiful productive thing. But watch out that you are not ruled by your passions, but you're ruled by God's presence, His power, His grace, and the clear tracks that you're to run on of His Word. Place your passions under God and His Word. And that's a very good place to live!