Greg's Weekly Word: "enthusiasm"
Updated: May 5
Don't flip out, but...
Yep. That's me.
I was a college cheerleader my freshman year at Furman. (FU one time!... )
Which is how we often think of enthusiasm: like the perpetually peppy and positive Spartan cheerleaders in the SNL sketches.
But enthusiasm is more than an intense enjoyment, excitement, or energy.
The word itself is a compound of three Greek words/parts: en ("in"), theos ("god"), and ousia ("substance/essence"). It literally means to have the essence or substance of a god (God) in one's self. In fact, it almost has the connotation of being possessed - that the very essence of the divine takes over a person's being.
Which means we can be enthusiastic, even when we are not overly excited or energetic. Because enthusiasm is more about allowing God's essence (the Holy Spirit?) to take hold within us and guide us in our living...to focus our desires on God's desires...to allow Christ's Way to direct our ways... Essentially, to let God possess us in such a way that it is clear to others that God is alive within us - in how we treat others, in how we speak and act, in how we give and serve, in how we allow grace and love, justice and mercy to flow through our lives...almost to the point where it feels like it is out of our control - like it is not us doing it, but God.
Which, ultimately, it is (God, not us).
We read in the book of Galatians,
...it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me... (Gal 2:20)
And while we may not be excited or energized all of the time, when we cultivate enthusiasm in our lives - when we allow God's very essence to come alive in us and through us, when we are faithful - even if we are not happy or having fun, hopefully God will be happy with us, so that we might hear, Well done, good and faithful servant...enter into the joy of your Lord (Matt 25:23).
P.S. Here's another picture of me from my freshman year in college. Clearly I had an enthusiasm for bad haircuts.