Love is…passionate

Passion is the evidence of strong love.

With Valentine’s Day comfortably in our rearview mirror, it seemed like an opportune time to explore the word we so frequently use, yet seldom seek to understand: love.

When seeking the Biblical definition of love, my first thought (as I’m sure would be anybody else’s who is even remotely acclimated with the Bible) was to go to the famous passage in 1 Corinthians 13. After reading it, surprisingly, nothing really seemed to click for me.

Though it is clearly the standard as it pertains to love, I did not feel that a commentary on this very familiar passage would be the best route to take. (Especially since people who could be no further from Jesus can probably quote this passage.) What ensued was a visit to a most unlikely source for inspiration—the dictionary!

Yes…okay, I am guilty of looking up the dictionary definition of love, deal with it!

I did, though, find the inspiration that I was looking for, albeit indirectly.

When reviewing the various definitions that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives for “love,” a number of themes began to circulate in my mind.

My deliberation on the meaning of love has resulted in what may seem like an obsession with alliteration, as the letter “p” has sparked a series of adjectives describing love: passionate, practical, persistent and preeminent.

I will be dedicating the next succession of posts to exploring these descriptions of love, concentrating this post on the passionate aspect.

When I think of passion, King David immediately comes to mind. He was certainly a man who personified passion in everything he did, yet in distinctive ways.


To begin, David was very passionate about his commitments. After entering the service of King Saul, you could find almost no one who served Saul with the diligence and excellence that David did.

Unfortunately, this would be to David’s detriment, as cheers of “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7) quickly agitated the king. Saul, consequently, became jealous of David and, as do all scorned and insecure people with power, tried to quench the object of his envy.

David eventually was forced to flee from the palace. Saul, determined not to allow his kingdom to slip into the hands of David, pursued him with all his might.

Saul’s pursuit resulted in some slight miscalculations. On one occasion, the king went alone to relieve himself in the same cave that David and his men had been hiding.

David actually drew close enough to kill Saul, but settled for cutting the corner of his robe.

First Samuel 24:5-7 follows this incident:

5Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” 7With these words David rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.

David, with his life in jeopardy and pursuer in plain sight, did not capitalize on the opportunity to avenge himself.


David was absolutely committed to his vocation of being a servant to Saul, even under the circumstances. This is evident in the fact that it took Saul throwing spears at David on two occasions (1 Sam. 18:11; 19:10) for David to decide to leave.

Moreover, David exemplifies passion in commitment regarding the oath he makes with Jonathan.

In 1 Samuel 20:14-15, Jonathan makes David affirm this oath: “But show me unfailing kindness like that of the Lord as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.”

(David makes a similar promise to Saul in 1 Samuel 24:21-22.)

Once David’s throne is firmly established, he shows great zeal for the oath he makes with his now fallen friend Jonathan. He asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” (2 Samuel 9:1)

After he is notified of Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth, David urgently summons for him. David says to Mephibosheth, “Don’t be afraid . . . for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table” (2 Samuel 9:7).


David’s passion was evidenced in his personal relationships with others. Though this most certainly included his desire for the opposite sex—so much so that his escapade with Bathsheba ended in the murder of her husband Uriah—his passion extends even farther than that.

The friendship that David established with Jonathan is one of the strongest forged in all the Bible’s pages. This bond seemingly happened instantaneously, as 1 Samuel 18:1 notes, “Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.”

Upon examining their friendship, it seems as if Jonathan is the one who is doing most of the work.

After all, it is he who “took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt” (1 Sam. 18:4). Jonathan, also, pleaded David’s case to his father (1 Sam. 19:4-5) and saved David’s life by telling him to flee from Saul (1 Sam. 20:20-22, 35-39).

What, then, made Jonathan want to be such a good friend to David, denying his own father in favor of him?

Well, we can tell from his treatment of Saul that David was very loyal. This is certainly a quality of any good friend.

However, the last encounter the two have with one another is very insightful. First Samuel 20:41 reads, “After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side [of the stone] and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together–but David wept the most.”

David had an unapologetic display of affection that was rooted in his inward passion for his friend. Love is never devoid of passion, and when you know someone has a passion for you, then it makes you want to treat them the way Jonathan treated David.


What is true for us, in this regard, is also true of God. When we contain a passion for him, he desires to do good things for us. God says as much in his word, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

It is very appropriate that the man who pinned this verse is also the object of our examination.

David truly had a heart for God.  This is affirmed by the Lord, himself, when he says, “I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22).

He certainly was relentless when it came to glorifying the name of the Lord. David’s passion prompted him to write a large portion of the Psalms, establish the Levitical order of worship using instrumentation and facilitate the eventual construction of Solomon’s Temple.

In addition to those great things, David’s desire to give God glory motivated him to do what no one else wanted to do!

David would eventually challenge Goliath, not for fame or fortune (though being victorious would make these things inevitable), but to defend the Lord’s name and inheritance.

First Samuel 17:45-47 details:

45David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.46This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

David’s passion was constantly on display. He did everything with passion. He fought with passion, prayed with passion, wrote with passion, played with passion—he probably even slept with passion!

It was this passion that made David a great lover. This meant being faithful to his commitments, affectionate toward those he cared for and dedicated to the glory of God.

David’s love was sufficient in wooing the Creator of everything. What more can you really ask for?


~ by christianballenger on February 22, 2012.

3 Responses to “Love is…passionate”

  1. Good stuff!

  2. WOW! This post blessed my life. I need to Woo on.

  3. I’ve always admired David. What a blessed life the man lived and set an example for us to live. Thanks for the post!

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