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Monday, April 25, 2016

Learning to Stay Enthusiastic for a Lifetime

In review of Romans 12:11-12 it says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:11-12 NIV).

Bottom Line:
Don’t lack zeal, be eager to follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in your confident hope, be patient in times of trouble and keep on praying.

What this means to me:
Don’t be lazy or lack zeal in what you do, rather eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in your confident hope you have. Learn to be patient in times of trouble and never stop praying.

Today's passage comes from the middle part of Romans chapter 12 in which Paul speaks to us about being a living sacrifice to God. Paul explains that we should give our lives to God, because of all he has done for us. The giving of ourselves is truly the way to worship him. We start by not copying the behaviour and customs of this world around us. Rather we let God transform us into new people. We are also reminded to not think more highly of ourselves than we should. We should use the gifts God gave us to serve those around us.

When it comes to live, we should not just pretend to love, but really love them with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  We should not be lazy but work hard serving the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God's people are in need, be ready to help them, and be always eager to practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you and pray that God will bless them.  Celebrate with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. Don't think you know it all.

Don't seek payback or revenge. Do things in a way that all can see that you are honorable. Do what you can to live in peace with everyone.

In order to fulfill the mission God has for me, I need to learn how to maintain my enthusiasm over the long haul.  A quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “Nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm.” I need to learn to adapt and adopt this into my daily routine. Having and maintaining the passion and enthusiasm will help me reach the finish line.

So how do I stay enthusiastic day after day, considering what life throws my way (delays, difficulties, dead ends, problems and criticisms)?  Positive thinking is not enough. Pulling myself up by my psychological bootstraps will not be enough. Talking myself into optimism will not be enough.

What I’m learning is that the way I stay enthusiastic for a lifetime is found in the root of the word “enthusiasm.” The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word “en theos.” “En” is the Greek word for the English word “in.” “Theos” is the Greek word for “God.” So “en theos” means to be “in God.”

When I get in God, I will be enthusiastic. It’s the kind of enthusiasm that isn’t affected by the economy or the weather or my circumstances. It’s eternal because I’m tied to the eternal God. I am in Christ.

Paul tells us how to do this in passage from Romans 12:11-12. He says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (NIV).

To reach my goals this year, I need to get God’s power by being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

God, today I pray that I don’t want to go another day without you in my life, controlling every part of my heart. I offer you my body. I dedicate myself to you. In light of all you’ve done for me, I give myself as a living sacrifice to you as a spiritual act of worship. I humbly admit that I need help. I want you to help renew my mind. Help me to think the way you want me to think. Please forgive me for my pride and how it gets in my way. I don’t want to think more highly of myself than I should. My faith needs to grow, and I need your help to set goals that can be measured so I can manage them. Forgive me for trying to change on my own.  I want to fill my life with love. I want to fill my life with you. Help me to get group support. Help me to take delight in honoring other people, to focus on giving my life away so that you can take care of my needs. I want to nurture my enthusiasm by being in you. Help me to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. I give myself to you. In your name I pray. Amen.

If I truly strive to live this way, I know it will bring enthusiasm that can last my lifetime.

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