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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

How to Keep My Enthusiasm

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” (NIV).

Today’s verses come from Romans 12:9-13. It says to not just pretend to love others, but really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve 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. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

I know how to be courteous to others. I'm even skilled in pretending to feel compassion when I hear of others' needs. But God calls me to a genuine love that goes far beyond pretense and politeness. Genuine love requires concentration and effort. It means helping others become better people. It demands my time, money, and personal involvement. Look for people who need my love, and look for ways I can love for Christ.

I can honor others in one of two ways. One involves ulterior motives. I honor my leader so they will reward me, my employees so they will work harder, the wealthy so they will contribute to my cause, the powerful so that will use their power for me and not against me. God's way involves love. As a follower of Christ, I honor people because they have been created in God's image, because they are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and because they have a unique contribution to make to Christ's church  Does God's way of honoring others sound too difficult for my competitive nature? Why not try to outdo others in showing honor? Put others first!

Christian hospitality differs from social entertaining. Entertaining focuses on the host: the home must be spotless; the food must be well prepared and abundant; the host must appear relaxed and good-natured. Hospitality, by contrast focuses on the guests. Their needs, whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or acceptance, are the primary concern. Hospitality can happen in a messy home. It can happen around a dinner table when the main disk is canned soup. It can even happen while the host and the guest are doing chores together. Don't hesitate to offer hospitality just because I'm too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain.

To reach my goals, I have to figure out how to maintain my enthusiasm over the long haul.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm.” I’ve got to have passion and enthusiasm, or I’m never going to make it to the finish line.

I need to learn to be consistently enthusiastic about the goals that I’ve set for my life.

Positive thinking is not enough. Pulling myself up by my psychological bootstraps is not enough. Talking myself into optimism is not enough.

The way to stay enthusiastic for a lifetime is found in 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 me how to do this in 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).

If I want to reach my goals, I need to tap into God’s power by being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.

Bottom Line:
Don’t energy or enthusiasm, for it is the Lord you serve. Have joy, patience, and be faithful in prayers.

What this means to me:
I should never let myself lack enthusiasm, but rather remember that in what I do, I’m serving the Lord. So remember to joyful in the hope I have, be patient when afflictions come, and to always be faithful in prayer.

This morning I pray: “Dear God, 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 renew my mind. Help me to think the way you want me to think. Please forgive me for my pride. 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.”