The operational definition of enthusiasm is “fervently expressing with my soul the joy of my spirit.” Our soul is that part of us by which we primarily relate to the physical world, and our spirit is that part of us by which we mainly relate to the Lord. The word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words: en, which means “in,” and theos, which means “God.” When you are “in God,” such as praying, obeying His voice, and reading and meditating on His Word, then you are able to experience genuine joy. “In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11b). When your spirit is in close fellowship with God, your joy will be obvious to those around you. This expression with your soul is enthusiasm.
God’s Word gives many examples of enthusiasm. King David and the congregation greatly rejoiced when they gave willingly for the building of the Temple. (See I Chronicles 29:9.) Families joined in the celebration when the wall around Jerusalem was completed. (See Nehemiah 12:27, 40–43.) The Jews had “light, gladness, joy, and honor” because God had worked on their behalf to save them from Haman. (See Esther 8:11, 15–16.) Such excitement was the result of people knowing the Lord and seeing Him work.
The opposite of enthusiasm is apathy. Apathy means that instead of being eager and interested, you are indifferent and unconcerned. Apathetic people ignore the needs of those around them. They do not want to participate in the family’s ministry to the nursing home. They roll their eyes and shrug their shoulders when a job is assigned to them. They are not moved by the missionaries’ reports at church. They are easily bored. If you find yourself feeling apathetic about things that matter to the Lord, ask Him to show you what has come between you and Him. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” (Psalm 51:10–12).
- Do I give everyone a warm, enthusiastic smile or only those who are my close friends?
- How do I seek to stay in fellowship with the Lord throughout the day?
- Do I take time to pause and rejoice in God’s goodness to me?
- Am I eager to do my tasks wholeheartedly?
- What am I motivating others to do by my attitudes, decisions, and actions?
- Am I discouraged by obstacles, or do I look to Christ for help to overcome them?
- Do I see the importance of the work God has given to me to do?
- Am I suppressing the Holy Spirit’s promptings or yielding to His guidance?
- Have I felt emotional drain from trying to be enthusiastic by my own effort rather than by God’s Spirit?
More About Enthusiasm
God enables me to:
Be filled with the Spirit.
Rejoice in Him.
Turn apathy into caring concern.
Treat every job as important.
Be an energy giver to others.
Recognize that my demeanor affects others.
Put my whole heart into what I do.
Be undeterred by obstacles.
Enthusiasm in Scripture
Encouraged on the Road to Emmaus
Revealed in Nature
Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum
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Free Resources for Enthusiasm
Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!