Enthusiasm and Energy - two character traits which often define the progress we make in life. Lack enthusiasm or energy and any task you take on will seem like a drudgery, weighing you down with its burden. Sometimes we possess energy, but lack enthusiasm. When we do, we have all the "burn" we need for the long-haul, but we just don't have the "umph" behind it to make the "haul" enjoyable. We can also have all the enthusiasm in the world, but lack the energy because it has been sucked out of us by all the other stuff we also have "enthusiasm" for in life! These two work hand-in-hand, as do many of our other "character traits" we have explored over the past several days. Today's list is our "E" List - Enthusiasm and Energy.
I readily admit that the Jews are impressively energetic regarding God—but they are doing everything exactly backward. They don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is salvation is God’s business, and a most flourishing business it is. Right across the street they set up their own salvation shops and noisily hawk their wares. After all these years of refusing to really deal with God on his terms, insisting instead on making their own deals, they have nothing to show for it. (Romans 10:2-3 MSG)
Paul writes to the Roman church, Jewish believers struggling with their faith. Why? They have all kinds of enthusiasm and energy - he said they are "impressively energetic" regarding God. They are also commended for their "flourishing business" of trying to live as they should. So, why is it he zeros in on their enthusiasm? It is misdirected! They have come to count on the energies they exert and their enthusiastic following of the rules as their means of "getting things done" with God!
Enthusiasm is a "controlling" or "consuming" possession of our minds by any interest - and where the mind goes, there goes the heart! So, enthusiasm is not always a good thing when it is misdirected! We can be enthusiastic (consumed and controlled) by the "stuff" which will really get us nowhere in life! To help us understand enthusiasm, we might want to know what the exact opposite is - indifference. So, enthusiasm is a very good thing - but we need to make sure it is based in something of value - making the expenditure of our energies worthwhile.
Energy is really the capacity for activity. As I have said, we can be very enthusiastic, but have absolutely no remaining capacity for activity! Why? Perhaps it is because we have allowed to many "leeches" in life to drain us of our energies! What "leeches" energy from your life? It could be those "tasks" you have taken on which others asked you to perform, but which make absolutely no sense for you to be doing. It could be those relationships which seem to do nothing more than drain you of all things good (we call them "high maintenance" relationships). Sometimes we have to "empty" ourselves in order to have more "capacity".
Back in the day when nickle-cadmium batteries first came out on the market, many of us made the mistake of keeping those devices plugged into the charger almost all the time when the device was not in use. At that time, we probably thought we were actually doing the right thing - so we'd have the device "at the ready" when we needed it. What we learned over time was in order for the device to function as it should, it had to be pretty well drained of capacity in order to "take a full charge". I wonder if this might just be true in our spiritual lives? Do we need to "learn" how to take a full-charge in the correct manner? Do we need to "drain" ourselves of all which "takes up room" and makes us "appear" to "carry a charge", then be refilled to capacity with what really "gives us a charge"?
Control determines what consumes - give a video game to the child and see how long the batteries last! They "get into" the game and before long, the device is drained of energy. Now, if you hook that same game up to an AC adapter, what happens? They can play on and on! Hmmm...perhaps we need to figure out where our "source" of charge comes in life! If we are always needing a "recharge" because we run down quickly, it may because something "consumes" our capacity way too quickly. Or perhaps we are only carrying half a charge in the first place because we have never fully "drained ourselves" of the things which get in the way of us having "full capacity"! Just sayin!