Two qualities stand out about young children at play: energy and enthusiasm. They never seem to tire, and are excited by the simplest of activities. Jesus Christ tells us (Matt 18:3) to be like them. He wants us to have the joy of childhood, that enthusiasm for life which generates boundless energy to serve Him. It has been a mark of God's servants down the centuries. And we, in these end times and in a negatively charged world, need it more than ever.
What is "enthusiasm"? And how can we develop it?
Enthusiasm is abundant joy, an excitement for life. In the Greek it means "God in us". Surely it is ours to have - for God is indeed in us! At our baptism we were indwelt by the Spirit of God and are now sons and daughters in His Family. Wrote Arnold Toynbee: "Enthusiasm may be defined as faith set on fire". It is a zeal, a zest for living, a positive excitement for God and His way of life, and for all our futures. It is a must for Christians, keeping us going through life's journey. Enthusiasm makes the difference in handling life's problems, ensuring the difficulties don't overwhelm us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm". It is vital that we develop this "faith set alight" if we are to fulfill our destined role in life.
Change Your Life
How, then, do we develop this life-changing attitude? Here are some steps all can take:
Ask God for enthusiasm. He wants us to live life to the full. He came to give life in abundance (Jn 10:10), and desires fullness of joy for us (15:11). Enthusiasm is God's gift - ours for the asking.
Start each day with God. It has been said that the first five minutes determines the kind of day we will have. Let our first thoughts be of God, expressing thankfulness for all His mercies. On waking, confirm the words of Psalm 118: "This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it" (v.4). Before the hassles of the daily routine - spend time in prayer. At the beginning of the day prepare for a happy and exciting day. And at the end, for peaceful sleep, our thoughts should be of God.
Daily count your blessings. Jot down all you have to be thankful for: life, health, family, friends, material goods - and eternity. You'll soon run out of paper!
Study and memorize God's Word. When feeling low repeat His promises and say aloud the verses that excite us. Gloom won't last long. God's Word is "a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Ps 119:105).
Get involved in God's work. Daily witness for Jesus Christ. Set an example for those around you. Pray for God's people everywhere, and above all fervently pray "Your Kingdom come" as we see the predicted events for the end-time come to pass.
Help someone in need. Get involved with the less fortunate, and have loving concern for others - a sure way to get our mind off self!
Marvel daily at God's handiwork. In the words of the poet WH Davies: "What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare". Thank God for the beauty of creation. Enjoy it. Study it. It will fire your enthusiasm!
Mix with enthusiastic people. Depression rubs off gloomy negative folk. Find excited alive Christians and spend time with them. And be alive yourself.
Act "as if' you are enthusiastic! Even when in the dumps, for feelings follow action. "If you want a quality, act as if you already have it" (Wm James). "Assume a virtue if you have it not" (Shakespeare). Scripture commands us to show love - even if we don't feel like it! Picture yourself as an enthusiastic Christian: smile, be cheerful, act positively. Hum a catchy tune or sing a hymn. In contrast to the dejected person, walk with a bounce, head high and You will ill quickly feel better.
Be positive. Concentrate on what's good (Phil 4:8). We are what our mind dwells on. If that is negative we end up depressed. If positive we become alive and enthusiastic. Aim to always speak and act positively.
Focus on the goal. If we remain faithful an eternity of excitement awaits us. Dwell on it, plan for it, make it real.
Exercise God's power. Remember that God puts His Spirit within us to help overcome every challenge we face. We can say with Paul, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil 4:13). He is in us, and with us to the end (Matt. 28:20).
Finally, remember that enthusiasm, just like measles, is contagious. Let's all "catch" it. And then go out and spread it - today.
To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.
For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Volume 1 Issue 2, March/April 1997. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.
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