I recently found this observation from someone on the cycles of mankind and nations. Step 1 is moving from bondage to spiritual faith. Step 2 is moving from spiritual faith to great courage. Step 3 is moving from great courage to liberty. Step 4 is moving from liberty to abundance. Step 5 is moving from abundance to selfishness. Step 6 is moving from selfishness to complacency. Step 7 is moving from complacency to apathy. Step 8 is moving from apathy to dependency. Step 9 is moving from dependency to bondage and back to the original state that opens the door again to spiritual faith.

If you look at this cycle, there was a shift from constructive passion to destructive passivity that ultimately caused the downfall of the person or nation. The apathy or "whatever" attitude in this cycle is what concerns me in this article. After all, when people start saying, "whatever," that is not usually a good sign.

What is passion? Webster's says passion is any emotion or feeling such as love, desire, anger, hate, fear, grief, joy, hope, etc., that is of a compelling or powerful nature. Close to the word passion is the word zeal. Zeal is a strong or extravagant fondness, desire or enthusiasm for anything. Passion is fire in the fireplace. Actually, the word passion means to suffer as in the Passion of Christ.

Passivity is defined as not reacting visibly to someone or something that might be expected to produce manifestations of emotions or feeling. It means that one is not participating readily or actively. It implies inactivity. It's receiving, enduring or submitting to something without resistance that is inappropriate. In Latin, it means to be carried away or be abnormally unresponsive. Did you hear about the person who quit? No one else did, either.

Passion can be right or wrong, constructive or destructive, directed or misdirected, depending on what the passion is about. The object of one's passion is what determines that. I love it when people are engaged or passionate about their nation, their future, their career, their community, their marriage, their church, their lives, their dreams and goals, and God. At least they are engaged and that is good if our passion is within the guidelines of true biblical wisdom.

But sometimes we lose our passion. Sometimes things don't turn out the way we want and we, like the point on a retractable ballpoint pen, retract into apathy or "whatever." Jesus called that losing your first love. But, passion can be recovered again for most people. After all, passion is a gift from God. It's part of being human. It's high octane; use it but use it wisely. It's intelligent fire if directed toward wise objects and goals. Recovering your passion again can move us from bondage to spiritual faith.

I'm so glad that God didn't say "whatever." God is passionate about His creation, which includes you and me. Let's get us back in the game again. More next week.