(Image courtesy of http://newsbusters7.s3.amazonaws.com.)
"So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:15-16).
"But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death..." (Philippians 3:7-10).
The apostle Paul was a mere mortal.  Granted, he was given the unique and awesome opportunity to live at such a time when the Lord Jesus walked physically on the earth.  Furthermore, his life was dramatically changed when he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, was blinded from His glory, and received his sight later at the hands of another disciple through the power of God.  Yet Paul still died.  Not for you or for me, mind you, but because he was human (and all humans die).  He was but a servant of Christ - consumed with passion for His Name.

Paul said in Romans 1:15 that he was eager to go to Rome.  From where did he get this boldness?  From the Gospel, which is the very power of God.  Paul had already been flogged, beaten, stoned, mocked, and received death threats.  Why, then, would he consider going to Rome - the epicenter of idolatry and cruelness - a matter of eagerness?  Because Paul was "not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes."

Paul's passion for Christ was much greater than his passion for himself.  He still had passions for self just as you and I have passions for self.  He had a passion for food and material possessions.  He didn't always wake up joyful and ready to preach, but sometimes went through periods of doubt and exhaustion.  He felt the worry and fear of the future, the overwhelmed feeling of our limited time to accomplish all we want to accomplish.  He was human, after all, and the things that characterize humans he most assuredly also felt.

But God had created and tempered a greater passion into the life of Paul, as He does to all who truly believe in His Name.

Paul's greatest passion was for Christ.  He says in Philippians that he counted all things in the flesh as nothing.  Actually, more negative than that, he counts them as loss - not just as 0 but as below 0.  Why?  Because of the "surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."  Paul's passion for Christ superseded all his human passions.  For this reason, he was able to say to the sinful temptations of doubt and fear, "I am eager to go to Rome to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ, for the passion I have for Him is greater than my passions to take care of my own self."

From where did this passion come from?  Again, the passion that transcended all other passions came from the power of God: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  For it is by the power of God's Word that one is conformed to the image of Christ - whose very passions were for His Father's will, not His own fame or glory or even life, but He humbled Himself and became willingly obedient unto death, even death on a cursed tree.  Colossians 1:28-29 says, "Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me."  It is the power of God that conforms the believers passions from self to Christ.

Praise God for His great grace which accomplishes this!  Let us, therefore, in light of the hope of God by His grace, press onward and forward to attain knowledge of the invisible God, revealed in Christ, sealed by the Holy Spirit!  Let us, therefore, discipline ourselves to seek first the Kingdom with passionate plea and count all other passions as loss.  Lord, help us.  To You be the glory.

Lord God, please consume me with passion for You.  Amen.