It is not listed as part of the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23. It is not one of the Christian graces mentioned in ii Peter 1:5-7. However, enthusiasm is an essential component of Christian character. The late brother Bill Cline plainly stated it, “Actually, there is no such ‘animal’ as an unenthusiastic Christian. One could just as well be a God‐fearing atheist or an honest crook. The term is a misnomer. There are some unenthusiastic ‘church members’ but no unenthusiastic Christians.“
The root words behind enthusiasm literally mean, “God in us.” If God is indeed “in us” as He should be (I John 4:16), we should maintain an enthusiastic outlook. Consider just a few passages which stress the need for enthusiasm:
“Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee” (Deuteronomy 28:47). The Israelites’ failure to serve the Lord with enthusiasm would lead to their serving their enemies in misery.
“So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work” (Nehemiah 4:6). This literally says, “The people had a heart to work.” Thus, it speaks not only of their intellectual decision to work, but of their enthusiastic commitment to their task. This is why they were able to accomplish so much. It seems that many churches do everything they do half-heartedly. Which is a major reason why everything they do is not much. Where churches are enthusiastic about evangelism, souls are saved. Where churches are enthusiastic about doctrinal purity, error does not easily infiltrate. Stephanas and his household were so enthusiastic about ministering to the saints that they are described as “addicted…to the ministry of the saints,” as the KJV renders I Corinthians 16:15. Do you suppose that such enthusiasm enabled or hindered their prospective accomplishments?
“For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many” (II Corinthians 9:1-2). The Corinthians’ enthusiasm was a necessary prerequisite to performing the task they were called to do. And their enthusiasm was also contagious—it tends to be. Some churches are dragged down by the constant whining, complaining, and generally negative attitude of a few. But other churches are blessed with souls committed to the Lord’s cause, who in turn motivate each other (cf. Acts 4:36; I Thessalonians 5:14). Where churches are enthusiastic about their work and worship, others will come to share that enthusiasm.
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:4). Just a few decades previously, Paul had written of this same church, the church at Ephesus, “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:15-16). By the time of Revelation’s writing, Jesus could yet commend them for their works and en‐durance. But for all the good that Jesus could say about the church at Ephesus, He was compelled to convict them for leaving the zealous love for the Lord they once held. Time has a way of jading us. Our seeming failures can make us hesitant to try again. Others have disappointed us, making us reticent to trust others. The church at Ephesus had undoubtedly experienced much of this, but Jesus did not permit their waning enthusiasm.
It may be difficult for a Christian to maintain enthusiasm when he observes dangerous directions the country is headed, when he observes the church abandoning the Truth in many places, and after simply being bruised by the general hardships of life. But our focus is not on the occurrences of this world—our focus is on the hope of the life yet to come (cf. II Corinthians 4:18; Philippians 3:20). When our focus remains there, we will be enthusiastic about preparing ourselves and others for that hope. When we appreciate the unmerited favor that God has bestowed upon us, we will be enthusiastic about serving him any way we can. Let us begin this week with enthusiasm for the Lord!
“. . . be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20).