Groan or Glory?

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It’s Monday! Does that make you groan, a reminder that you have to get back to work?  The grind can wear us down. The situation and/or people where we do our work can be difficult. But, (Ah you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) we who know Christ and who are filled with His Spirit are enabled, by Him, to embrace all of life with enthusiasm.

Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday, the day that Christians remember the birth of the Church and the Spirit’s arrival on those first Believers in Jerusalem.  Jesus had instructed them to wait … prayerfully. “When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them. ” (Acts 2:1-4, The Message)  What glory! Those people went out from the Upper Room and turned the world upside down in a single generation. Can this be our experience, too?

Pentecost was just not for then. We, too, are people who are filled with the Spirit, Who makes genuine enthusiasm for life possible!  Interestingly, the word ‘enthusiasm’ is transliterated from the koine Greek – ‘enthousiazein’ meaning “filled with God, to have God within!”  People full of passion, who created joy in the world where they lived, were said to be full of God!   Christian, that is not a metaphor. We are filled with God’s Spirit. He lives in us. He can change our drab lives into a thing of beauty. He can take our disappointments and give us hope. He meets us in our struggles and prepares a way for us to overcome. He enables us to respond to those who wrong us with divine love and profound forgiveness. Yes, He makes us people who are enthusiastic about life.

Enthusiasm is not just an attitude, it is an overflow.

Enthusiastic people invest effort doing what they do like nobody else could do it. Spirit-filled people share in God’s creative power, His joy in what He created, and He becomes the model for the way to live – as they breathe in His presence.  “Come on, Jerry” some of you are thinking.  “Get real.  If I did that where I work, people would think I’d lost my mind.  My job is grind.  I am unappreciated.  I am invisible.” There is no denying that misery abounds in our world where sin frustrates, where selfishness hinders.  But, our experience is not just sunny attitudes and naïve optimism. We can be full of God’s Holy Spirit, people made new and different – inside out.

Let’s make this practical. Instead of dragging yourself out of bed, pouring a cup of coffee down your throat, and grumbling your way to work; change your pattern. First thing, turn your heart and mind to the Lord. Invite Him to do His work in you.  Get up earlier than your kids to find 15 minutes of quiet with Him. Carve an extra 15 minutes of time with the Lord into your day before you walk into the shop or office.

When frustration mounts in traffic or that most irritating person shows up at your side again, silently thank God that He is with you right in that moment. And yes, instead of leaving the house with the drone of daily “news” in your ears, focus on being ‘full of God,’ enthused!  We honor the Lord when we do what we do without complaint, with joy, to the best of our abilities – as though we are working directly for Jesus Christ Himself. (which we are, by the way)

I propose an experiment…

Try to live in this way consistently for the next couple of weeks.
Pray all the way to work – for a Spirit-filled heart and mind,
for an attitude of joy, for creativity, for humility that says,
“I’ll do whatever it takes, no matter what others do.”

See what happens as you are enthused – full of God!

Here is the word from the Word -“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.” (Colossians 1:10-12, NLT)

_______

Take My Life

(an old hymn, redone by Chris Tomlin.
Make it your prayer today.)

Take my life and let it be consecrated
Lord to Thee
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee

Take my voice and let me sing
Always only for my King
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee
Take my silver and my gold
Not a mite would I withhold
Take my intellect and use
Ev’ry power as You choose

Here am I all of me
Take my life it’s all for Thee

Take my will and make it Thine
It shall be no longer mine
Take my heart it is Thine own
It shall be Thy royal throne
ake my love my Lord I pour
At Your feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
Ever only all for Thee

Chris Tomlin | Frances Ridley Havergal | Henri Abraham Cesar Malan | Louie Giglio ©2003 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing) worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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