Kindle the Fire of Enthusiasm | February 6th, 2018
It is definitely winter. The temperature has been dropping rapidly from one day to the next, leaving an unfriendly, bone-chilling bite in the air. The trees have lost all of their leaves, the skies are gray and dreary, and there is not even a hint of new green growth on the plants. It is truly the “dead of winter.”
As dead as it may seem, have you ever looked out on freshly fallen snow and seen a glistening sparkle as the sun shines above it? Although the season of winter is gray, dreary, bleak, and bare, God makes sure we can still see His touch of sparkle in it!
Attracted to Sparkle
We are all attracted to sparkle in one way or another. Beginning when we were children, there has been a natural fascination in humans toward that which glitters, shines, radiates light, or in other words, sparkles. I know I am definitely attracted to sparkle as it is a “must-have” for me in the vintage costume jewelry I collect to repurpose. Here are a few of my favorite super sparkly pieces, all from the 1950s:
Sparkle is important to God, too. He wants so desperately for others to see His sparkle in us so they will come to know Him in the way we reflect Him.
An Escape through Hibernation
The Latin word for winter is hibernal. Many animals, such as bats, squirrels, and bears, become inactive or dormant and go into a state of hibernation to conserve energy during this season when food is scarce.
The body temperature of a ground squirrel drops close to freezing, while a bear’s heart rate can plummet to just eight beats per minute. Just a couple degrees and a few heartbeats away from death!
Do you ever feel like going into hibernation, withdrawing from others and perhaps even from God when life becomes too painful? It may seem like hibernating is the easiest escape, especially when you are experiencing mental or emotional pain that has led to anger, resentment, or bitterness.
But when these feelings are allowed to fester, you may find yourself blaming God for your circumstances. Without much notice, your spiritual temperature is on the verge of death, becoming as frigid as the outdoors in the dead of winter. And any sparkle you once had is long gone.
Live with Enthusiasm
Another word for that sparkle is enthusiasm. It comes from the Greek enthousiasmos which consists of the root words en meaning “in” and theos meaning “God.” So the meaning of enthusiasm is “God within.” Therefore, a person with enthusiasm is one who acts and speaks as if they had God living within them!
If you are a follower of Christ, your purpose on this planet is to be a radiant light to others to show them God’s love so they can have a relationship with Him, know they can be forgiven from their sins forever, and have eternal life. When you sparkle inside and out with enthusiasm people take notice. But if you have decided to hibernate, allowing your sparkle to fade, you lose out on many incredible opportunities to show God’s love to others.
Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:15-16
From Ashes to a Blaze
In Romans 12:11, the Apostle Paul instructs believers:
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Perhaps you are wondering how this is at all possible with a spiritual temperature near freezing from all the pain you have experienced in your life. You may have grown angry, resentful, and bitter toward God. Your fervor – your enthusiasm, intensity, and passion for Him – is nothing but ashes now from what was perhaps at one time, a blazing fire.
So, how do you get that fire burning intensely once again? All fires need three elements to burn. These include heat, oxygen, and fuel. If you remove any one of them, the fire will not burn.
The heat needed to get your inner fire kindled is transformation. You cannot go on living with anger, resentment, and bitterness toward God and expect to live with enthusiasm for Him. A dramatic change in your heart, mind, and spirit must take place and can only happen over time through the work of the Holy Spirit.
It might feel like some serious heat when you allow Him to make significant changes inside of you. But once you are willing to yield to Him, He will shape you to be more like Christ as a reflection of Him. And that, of course, includes plenty of sparkle!
Here is a great prayer that you can say to begin your journey of transformation…
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
The oxygen necessary for kindling a good fire within you is your breath. With it, you are able to talk to God. You cannot be enthusiastic about someone with whom you do not have a relationship. Your closest friends are those who take time to listen to you sharing your feelings, your hopes and dreams, and your triumphs and losses. God is always ready to listen to you pour out your heart to Him!
The other component of having a close friendship is learning about the other person, listening to them as they share themselves with you. God gives you His Word, the Bible, so you can know all about Him and His powerful, loving, and merciful character. This is how He speaks to you.
The more you get to know Him, the more you will love Him and have a better understanding of how He is working in your life through your circumstances. Feed the flames of your enthusiasm by getting into His Word every day to discover how He can help you live victoriously for Him no matter how painful and difficult life has been for you.
Using your breath for giving thanks will also keep your fire going. When you stop being grateful, focusing more on what you do not have instead of on God’s goodness, your fire will slowly begin to flicker out and die. You have been given so much and should never run out of things for which to thank Him as long as you live. So start each day being grateful. A thankful heart is a heart that sparkles!
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The fuel that is needed for kindling a blazing fire is other people, the fire’s embers.
This means hibernation is out! We are not meant to live our lives in seclusion. When the embers are far apart, the fire will eventually be extinguished. But once you get them close together again, the flames return.
This fuel works in two ways. First, when you find others who truly sparkle with a passion to live for Christ, they will help fuel your fire. In other words, their enthusiasm will rub off on you. That’s why it is vital to have godly friends in your life. When you are close to those who are burning passionately for God, you will be ignited!
Once your fire is sparked, you will become more enthusiastic about sharing God’s love with those who do not know Him. If you haven’t done so already, find a church home where the truth is taught, God is glorified, and there are plenty of opportunities for you to meet godly friends.
The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray. Proverbs 12:26
Secondly, serving others will also add fuel to your fire. Every follower of Christ is given a spiritual gift. There is no greater joy than when you are using it to serve and bless others. This is one sure way to increase your spiritual temperature! God is always ready to use you to bring glory to Him through your gifts which will not only bless others but will also bless you in unimaginable ways as well. You just have to be willing to be used by God which can only happen through a transformed heart, mind, and spirit.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10
It may be the dead of winter, but when you are living with enthusiasm for God you cannot be more alive! You will shimmer with a dazzling sparkle and glow with radiance from the blazing fire within that can never be extinguished.
Sparkler #1: Prayer
If you are struggling with pain in your life that has led to anger, resentment, or bitterness in your heart, ask God to help you release it and yield to Him so He can do His mighty work of transformation in you.
Sparkler #2: Action
Make sure you continually have all the elements necessary to keep your inner fire burning to live enthusiastically for God so that others may see your sparkle and come to know Him through you.
Sparkler #3: Challenge
Find a way to serve and bless others using your spiritual gift. If you do not know what your gift is, know that the more you serve, the more you will discover what comes naturally to you. And you will reap huge blessings in return!
*Bear – photo credit: Neil Powell Photography
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