A good question to ask when you’re pursuing success—whether in the workplace, your career or business, a relationship, your faith, or whatever—is: What role does passion play in achieving the success I am seeking?

To answer this important question, let’s first define what passion is and what it looks like. Bob Gass, an evangelist, says that “passion is spiritual energy; without it you’re as limp as a wet noodle.” And Steve Jobs, founder of the Apple business empire, has this to say about passion: “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” For Jobs, passion is the fuel of a burning fire, and it’s never general or abstract; it’s directed towards a specific, concrete goal or problem to be solved. But passion has to be felt to be understood. It can’t be artificially manufactured. As poet and publisher T.S. Eliot said, “We can no more explain a passion to a person who has never experienced it than we can explain light to the blind.”

Jesus, addressing one of the seven churches in the book of Revelation, tells them: “You are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15-16) He is talking about a lack of passion.

Passion is what moves people to act, to give their wholehearted effort, to persevere in the face of difficulty—and in this life there is always difficulty. What wind does for a sailboat, passion will do for your dreams and ambitions. Without wind, the sailboat will just sit there and drift on the water, inert; it won’t reach its destination. Likewise, no dream, vision, or ambition will ever be realized without passion. We see this lack of passion in “wet-noodle living”, when people give minimal and lacklustre effort to whatever task is required of them. They’re the all-day clockwatchers, looking for break and quitting time, and only coming to life on Friday night and the weekend. What a terrible and sad waste of a third of one’s life!

What could—what will—change this type of life? A decision to become someone who strives to excel in the work assigned or the task at hand, no matter what this work or task is, and to do so with passion—treating it like it really matters, because it does; everything does. Giving it a wholehearted, consistent effort. The person who does this will experience an inner happiness and a new and deep-seated pride that comes from a job well done.

The beauty of this investment of passion is that, from the first moment, it becomes the driving force in one’s life, a force that will start producing success upon success in one’s career, business, marriage, faith walk, or any other endeavour. When this happens, one can say, “Once I was blind to the power of passion, but now I see! Thank you, Lord.” How do I know all this? Because at one time in my life, I was that wet noodle!

May you be blessed with a God-honouring passion and see your ambitions, hopes, and dreams realized.