The Power of Passion - Crosswalk Couples Devotional - February 23

The Power of Passion
By Jen Ferguson

“People are known in this same way. Out of the virtue stored in their hearts, good and upright people will produce good fruit. But out of the evil hidden in their hearts, evil ones will produce what is evil. For the overflow of what has been stored in your heart will be seen by your fruit and will be heard in your words.” Luke 6:45, TPT

Craig and I live in central Texas, which means our fall season is not determined by a change in weather or a date on the calendar, but rather by the start of college football.

For the almost twenty years we have been married, we have survived, even though our hearts belong to different teams. This is due mostly to the fact that they are in different conferences. He roots for my team when we play. I root for his team when they play. It was a nice co-existence.


Until our two teams decided it would be so much fun to play each other. While I am sure they were thinking media draw (welcome to Austin, ESPN Game Day!) and ticket sales, I was wondering if our marriage would be stronger than football.

Of course, I am (partially) joking. I knew that we would not get divorced because one team or the other won. But I also knew that our passions for our teams may (briefly) override our passion for each other. And this could lead to hurt feelings and bruised egos. We (seriously) sat down together and discussed how we would handle our team’s brilliant plays and devastating ones, bad calls, and missed calls, and all those other football things. We had a plan. We had promises. But we still had that team passion.

And sometimes our passion overrode our plan and our promises.

My team lost and I did not emerge completely unscathed, but the experience helped us both to realize how our passions and priorities shape the words that come forth from our mouths (and really, our hearts).

Moving beyond the college football example, if we overprioritize our relationship with our parents rather than our relationship with our spouse, chances are our words and actions when tensions arise will communicate that our spouse is of lesser priority.

If we overprioritize the success of our children, our zealousness for them may minimize the feelings and ideas our spouse has about our children’s success when we feel it is in jeopardy.

If we overprioritize our jobs and are more passionate about establishing our own identity or money, we will often communicate that our family is a burden or an imposition that’s keeping us away from what we really want to be doing.

What are you passionate about? Which of those passions produce good fruit? Which of those passions end up driving a wedge between you and your spouse? How can you begin to reprioritize those passions so that the overflow of your heart will result in words that help, instead of hinder, your relationship?

Remember, passion in and of itself is not bad or evil. Jesus was one passionate individual, but His entire will was in submission to His Father’s. It can be so easy to start chasing desires that temporarily fill our needs. We engage in behavior that feels good in the moment — whether it’s giving us security or power or pleasure — without truly examining how this may affect the one we’re supposed to love just as much as we love ourselves.

What would happen if we took our passions and laid them at Jesus’ feet? What if we asked Him why we had those passions and if they were producing good fruit in our lives and in the lives of our family members? If our passions are beneficial, what would God say about the order of importance that they have in our lives? Is there a better way to manage them in relation to our time?

Surrendering our passions can feel gut-wrenching. But if we believe that we serve a God who loves us unconditionally, who is for us and for our marriage, we can trust that He will guide us on the right path, help us drop what needs to be disposed of, and prune that which He knows will produce good fruit.

Jen Ferguson is a wife, author, and speaker who is passionate about helping couples thrive in their marriages. She and her husband, Craig, have shared their own hard story in their book, Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography and are also creators of the Marriage Matters Prayer Cards. They continue to help couples along in their journeys to freedom and intimacy at The {K}not Project. Jen is also a mama to two girls and two high-maintenance dogs, which is probably why she runs. A lot. Even in the Texas heat.

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Originally published Friday, 23 February 2024.