Stoicism – When Jewish people got good or bad news they would kill the fatted calf or rip their clothes and cover themselves with ashes. We don’t identify with big emotional swings in the west. We like our heroes to be John Wayne – calm and collected. The reason is our concept of God. We don’t imagine him getting excited so we pride ourselves in being like Him and try to “stuff” our emotions.
Here’s reality. God does have emotions! He does get excited! So should we. The joy that we have comes from God (my joy may be in you).
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:10-11 NIV
I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people Isa 65:19 NIV
Here’s How – We should target enthusiasm as a lifestyle. “Enthusiasm” comes from a greek root “In” coupled with “theo”… in Christ. The concept is “spirit filled!”
Notice this progression in Titus: First God put something in his heart and he got excited. Then enthusiasm resulted in action – he volunteered for something out of his own initiative.
I thank God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. 17 For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. 2 Cor 8:16-17 NIV
Can you see why servants are less excited than friends?
“Servants” work on the dream, but they don’t have it in their heart and they aren’t as excited. The dream belongs to someone else. They wait to be told what to do by God or their pastor or their manager. Servants are often admonished to “get excited.” So, they try to “put on” enthusiasm. It doesn’t work that way.
“Friends” share the dream with God to the extent that they treat it as their own. They are excited about the dream and think of ways to make it reality. Owning the dream is the root of their initiative and enthusiasm.
Listing your Dreams – Before we launch off into setting goals, give yourself the luxury of listing your dreams. Try to write down one hundred dreams that you have in your heart. I did this last week and got to 50 without inventing any new ones. Here’s why it’s important to explore the dreams in your heart – because God put many of them there. As you prayerfully wade through the list, you will find God authored many of them for you. It’s one of the primary ways to find the will of God for your life.
God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Eph 3:20 Message
As you review the desires of your heart on your dream list, some will rise to the surface for action now. That’s when you can make goals out of them. Make your goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. As you respond to the dreams God put in your heart, your life will be filled with purpose; enthusiasm will be a natural byproduct. (Key 3 in Desire to Destiny has many helpful insights on this topic)
Finances – From a very practical standpoint another ingredient for enthusiasm is having the money to see your dream come true. It’s frustrating to see something but not be able to afford it. As a King, you can’t fulfill your dream, your destiny or the will of God while you’re broke. Remember to include the financial ingredient in your dream and goals… and then “do” the things that bring prosperity. God will favor you and guide you, but we are still responsible to formulate and execute a wise plan. Money will not fall out of heaven and hit you on the head. The “gentiles” are not going to wire it into your bank account either. Money does flow toward wise stewards that have a dream, a business plan, and a living assessment of their cash flow (See chapter 28 in Desire to Destiny). Here’s an example on our web site.
The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made to prosper. Gen 39:23 NASU
Can you see the dream, the will of God, and the finances? You’ll know you’re there when your spirit leaps and you want to start dancing. It’s exciting!
Life is an adventure. People are a blessing. God is amazing. We’re winning.