Enthusiasm

Dear Fellow-Disciple:

And Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took the timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dancing.

So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" (Exodus 15:20,24)

The above Scriptures show how quickly we can change when things don't go as we expect.

The word, enthusiasm, comes from the Greek `en'-in, plus `theos'-god. It means god within. To the Greeks, any god would do. It also means religious fanaticism.

Spirit-filled Christians are enthusiastic because we have God within. But enthusiastic behavior can drift into the carnal. Enthusiasm can become our goal, rather than a response to what is happening in our lives.

Some Christians falsify enthusiasm even though they are dying inside. They put up an enthusiastic front because that is what is expected of them.

Much Christian music is designed to generate enthusiasm. It is more entertainment than worship. The beat and the sound are identical to the beat and sound that fills the worldly teenager with carnal enthusiasm. In the church, it generates empty enthusiasm. Often, those who are loudest in their praise have the least understanding of the God they are praising.

It is impossible to entertain anyone into the kingdom. He may become enthusiastic, but an emotional entrance is insufficient, it has no root system.

A disciple of Christ knows that after he has experienced an enthusiastic praise session, he still has things to do. As servants of the King, we are conscripted into His army. Our King does not expect us to be an enthusiastic, wandering generality, we are to be committed, meaningful and specific.

Jesus gave His disciples their marching orders in Acts 1:7,8. The disciples understood that He mentioned the local geography before extending the commission to include the remotest.

The body of Christ has missed that directive. As our nation sinks into a quagmire, the focus of the church is to the "remotest parts of the earth." We support those ministries because we are enthusiastic about the possibility that Jesus might return if we get the Word to all nations.

Enthusiasm is good, but not to the degree that it blinds us to reality. If the United States were convinced to repent and return to God, the entire world would see God's hand at work and, as a result, be led into the kingdom. Like Nebuchadnezzer, King of Babylon, at the pinnacle of our greatness we are on the threshold of humiliation. We must be restored like Nebuchadnezzer. Hopefully, we won't have to experience what he experienced (Daniel 4).

One true disciple of Christ left a "successful" ministry in California to minister to the prostitutes, pimps, junkies and alcoholics who infest the Times Square area of New York City.

Why minister to prostitutes, pimps, junkies and alcoholics? For the same reason Jesus did, they recognize and identify with the wretchedness of man. They understand the first part of John 10:10 better than any Christian could ever understand it, and they want desperately to believe the second part.

Life with Christ is a pilgrimage. It demands constant adaptability, flexibility and adjustment. We have freedom to be enthusiastic, especially about the exciting uncertainty. But our King doesn't expect us to jump up and down to let Him know how enthusiastic we are. He wants us serious enough to leave our comfort zone and go to war. Plenty of people in our local geography recognize their wretchedness and want desperately to believe the second half of John 10:10.

God has designed life for planters. We must ask ourselves what, if anything, we are planting. When we move out to plant a crop, God moves with us. He will not give us a kick to get us started. He is very patient, and He will never force us.

The body of Christ is not made up of other people...we're it. Embarrassment and fear of failure can shape us into retarded Christians. When that happens, we surrender to the enemy without even a fight for our King. The things we do now determine what we will be when it is too late to do anything about it.

Let's make sure our enthusiasm springs from our faith and expresses itself in works that produce fruit to glorify God!

Jesus is King!

P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?

Question for today: What is the root of my enthusiasm?