What about Enthusiasm?
Why I'm enthusiastic to make this page about enthusiasm
I'm ethusiastic to be making this page about enthusiasm because I feel enthusiasm is an important element in keeping out attitude on track.
To have an enthusiastic attitude about we do is essential to our success, as it wil drive us onward toward our chosen goals and desires. For more on this check out some of the books in the "Books on Enthusiasm" module below.
Next I'll tell you about the meaning of the word and trace it's history some of it's usages and then make my own Spiritual application in the light of the foregoing.
A few books on Enthusiasm
The origin of the word "Enthusiasm"
ETYMOLOGY: Late Latin enthsiasmus,
from Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein, to be inspired by a god,
from entheos, possessed: en=in + theos=god; thus:
1.a strong warmth of feeling, keen interest or fervor; Great excitement for or interest in a subject or cause.
2. A source or cause of great excitement or interest.
3. Archaic a. Ecstasy arising from supposed possession by a god.
b. Religious fanaticism.
For more, go here
Irving Hexham's concise Dictionary of religion explained it this way: "ENTHUSIASM: the original Greek word means "rapture" or being possessed by a GOD. The word was used disparagingly in the seventeenth century to depict the religious attitude of the PURITANS and in the eighteenth century the METHODISTS.."
And gives the following: "'Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm,' said the very quotable Ralph Waldo Emerson, who also said, 'Everywhere the history of religion betrays a tendency to enthusiasm.' These two uses of the word enthusiasm-one positive and one negative-both derive from its source in Greek. Enthusiasm first appeared in English in 1603 with the meaning 'possession by a god.' The source of the word is the Greek enthousiasmos, which ultimately comes from the adjective entheos, 'having the god within,' formed from en, 'in, within,' and theos, 'god.'" The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Enthusiasm in religious history
Examines the various outbreaks in detail, especially those of the 17th and 18th centuries.
It's necessary reading for anyone interested in the history of fringe religious movements in general, any of the sects described here specifically, or the psychology of fanaticism
further states that: "Over time the meaning of enthusiasm became extended to 'rapturous inspiration like that caused by a god' to 'an overly confident or delusory belief that one is inspired by God,' to 'ill-regulated religious fervor, religious extremism,' and eventually to the familiar sense 'craze, excitement, strong liking for something.' The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
And Hexham further points out that: "Today the word has the general sense of a passionate eagerness in any pursuit."
Natural History of Enthusiasm
[From Amazon:] This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: "ECTION III. ENTHUSIASTIC PERVERSIONS OF THE DOCTRINE OF DIVINE INFLUENCE. A Sentiment natural to the human mind, leads it to entertain and to dwell with pleasure upon the belief of the stability and permanence of the material world..... Apart from the Divine volition, perpetually active, there can be no title to existence; and in the moment which should succeed to the cessation of the efficient will of the First Cause, all creatures must fall back to utter dissolution."
My Spiritual Application
Of course, if you know me, you might suspect I'd make a Spiritual applicaltion.
Although the word was originally used disparagingly, there must be some truth behind it's origins. After all, when you think about God, how do you see him--as a lethargic being, not having any feeling for his handiwork? On the contrary. In Genesis we are told that God saw that what he had created was very good (Genesis 1:21). I believe he was excited about what he had made.
Thus the origin of enthusiasm lies with God Himself. To be told, even desparagingly, that one is enthusiastic (or seeming to have God within) should be viewed as a compliment. Enthusiasm demonstrates the character of God. An enthusiastic person is acting or reacting as God would act or react. Of course anyone can act and even be enthusiastic about anything without knowing God at all. But, for the Christian, there is a built in source of enthusiasm. If you'll pardon my preaching for a second, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, God comes to dwell in us, in the person of the Holy Spirit, so we literally do have God within us. Then we must alow him to fill us, control us and empower us.
Enthusiasm brings power. Jesus told his disciples that they would receive power after the Holy Spirit had come upon them (Acts 1:8). Thus, our greatest source of enthusiasm is the indwelling and infilling Holy Spirit of God. If you don't know this source of power, I pray you would find it today by first inviting Jesus into your life and then asking him to fill you with His Holy Spirit.
Faith on Fire
Is your God distant? Have you experienced broken promises? Do fear, hopelessness and shame haunt your soul?
Faith on Fire will provide inspiration and hope for those seeking to make sense of life. The hidden longings of the heart will be given a voice through the stories shared. Those who have lost their way, are spiritually hungry, thirsty and searching to fill the emptiness within, will find enthusiasm in the midst of community and discover their passion.
[From Midwest Book Review on Amazon:] "Living Water... is a layman's guide to the Holy Spirit that addresses the vital questions: Who is the Holy Spirit and what does He do? What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit and how do they work? How can I plug into the Holy Spirit's power? How does the Holy Spirit guide us?....
We should strive to be enthusiastic every day. This resource may help: