Disordered Passions

Teaching of Virtue

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Disordered Passions

With a well-ordered soul, one’s intellect directs their will, which virtuously directs their passions to do God’s will—no matter what trial, temptation, feeling, or emotion one may face.

With a disordered soul, one has little willpower over their passions, allowing them to run out of control and rule their life—failing to act virtuously because the passion for what they want fogs their intellect and overpowers their will.

Scripture says, “Do not allow evil to prevail, instead prevail over evil by means of goodness” (Romans 12:21). But when one is not properly equipped with an intellect and well rooted in virtue, they often fall into sin as a result of disordered passions. However, one whose purpose in life is to seek to glorify God in everything they do by pursuing a virtuous life—will properly order their passions as such. They will love and desire things like prayer, serving, moderation, and fighting for the good; whereas one whose passions are disordered will likely hate and avoid those very same things.

In the words of Marcus Aurelius, “Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil.” A life of vice disorders our passions to pursue evil and evade the good. A life of virtue orders our passions to pursue the good and evade evil.

The practice and pursuit of virtue enable you to wisely and willfully direct the powerful horses of your passions through the battles of life—as a warrior for Christ.

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Related Scripture

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” — Isaiah 5:20 (ESV)

“But don’t let the passion of your emotions lead you to sin! Don’t let anger control you or be fuel for revenge, not for even a day. Don’t give the slanderous accuser, the Devil, an opportunity to manipulate you!” — Ephesians 4:26-27 (TPT)

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” — 1 John 2:16 (ESV)

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” — 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)

“Resist him by being strong in faith, being aware that the same passions afflict those who are your brothers in the world.” — 1 Peter 5:9 (CPDV)

“Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.” — Proverbs 23:3 (ESV)

“They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’” — Jude 1:18 (ESV)

“Abstain from every form of evil.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (ESV)

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” — James 4:3 (ESV)

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” — James 3:16 (ESV)

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” — Colossians 3:5 (ESV)

“For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.” — Romans 7:5 (ESV)

“...among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” — Ephesians 2:3 (ESV)

“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” — John 8:34 (ESV)

“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” — Galatians 5:24 (ESV)

Related Quotes

“Bad people...are in conflict with themselves; they desire one thing and will another, like the incontinent who choose harmful pleasures instead of what they themselves believe to be good.” — Aristotle

“All badness is spoiled goodness. A bad apple is a good apple that became rotten. Because evil has no capital of its own, it is a parasite that feeds on goodness.” — Ven. Fulton J. Sheen

“For he who lives as passion directs will not hear argument that dissuades him, nor understand it if he does; and how can we persuade one in such a state to change his ways?” — Aristotle

“Discordance is evil. Harmony is virtue.” — Plato

“Even those who have the weakest souls could acquire absolute mastery over all their passions if we employed sufficient ingenuity in training and guiding them.” — Rene Descartes

“Education is teaching our children to desire the right things.” — Plato

“The good man, though a slave, is free; the wicked, though he reigns, is a slave, and not the slave of a single man, but—what is worse—the slave of as many masters as he has vices.” — St. Augustine

“The things that we love tell us what we are.” — St. Thomas Aquinas

“To enjoy the things we ought and to hate the things we ought has the greatest bearing on excellence of character.” — Aristotle

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Lesson Plan

For your family, small group, or personal reflection.

STEP 1: Introduction

Example: "I'm going to play a short video on the topic of disordered passions. After the video, I have some questions to gather your thoughts and get the discussion started. We’ll then wrap up with a closing prayer."

STEP 2: Watch Video (or listen)

Watch (or listen to) the video of the teaching (cast to your TV via YouTube). If time allows, also read the teaching, related Scriptures, and related quotes.

STEP 3: Discussion / Reflection

  • What is the difference between well-ordered passions and disordered passions (please explain)?

  • How does the purpose in life to seek to glorify God in all you do by pursuing a virtuous life help you properly order your passions to the will of God (please explain)?

  • In what ways can you better order your passions to the will of God in your life (give some examples)?

  • Did any of the related Scriptures or quotes stand out to you (please elaborate)?

  • Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

STEP 4: Wrap Up & Closing Prayer

Summarize and wrap up the discussion. Then, conclude with a sincere and humble prayer from the heart.

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