EXCITEMENT IN CHRISTIAN SERVICE
Marcus Aurelius said, “A man’s Life is what his thoughts make it.” The Bible says “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Can you even dare to dream what might happen if you were to begin getting excited in your thinking?
God has put Christ in us, the Bible says. Then it takes little or no imagination to believe that God has put in us the ability to do anything he wants done through us.
Motivation leads to excitement. Find the person who has a daily motivation of the Spirit and you will find an excited person.
“I shall not forget,” Dr. Bill Bright has said “as a young Christian, I read from a famous New Testament scholar, Dr. James Stewart of Edinburgh. I memorized what he said, it moved me so much. He said, “If we could but show the world that being committed to Christ is no tame humdrum, sheltered monotony, but the most thrilling, exciting adventure the human spirit could ever know! ” Daily inner motivation by God’s Spirit results in excitement plus!
Southwestern Baptist Seminary’s warm-hearted president, Dr. Robert Naylor, addressed 7,000 young people on a July night at Falls Creek Encampment near Davis, Oklahoma. His theme each
night of the week had been “What Do You Think of Jesus?” When he came to the last night, he began his message with the words, “I’ve been asking you all week what you think of Jesus. I want
to tell you what I think of him. I just can’t wait to walk the next mile with him.” Excitement plus!
Spiritually hungry, a nightclub entertainer drifted into a revival meeting in Alabama recently. When the service had concluded, she shared with the pastor, “This is the most unique and exciting thing I have ever seen in my life.”
Christianity has always been that way. It was born in the heart of God with the intention of being exciting, thrilling, and an answer to the needs of man.
Our generation shall give account to God if we have lacked enthusiasm. Someone sadly commented that modern preachers have been able to do what no one has been able to do for nearly 2,000 years-make Christ appear dull. If that is true of any preacher, it is unbelievably tragic, The watermark our generation must leave behind was rightly stated by Dr. Stewart-Christianity is the most thrilling, exciting adventure the human spirit could ever know.
Sources of Excitement
Being convinced that God wants us to be happy, motivated, excited about life, the question arises, “How?” Already we have noted that true motivation has come from within. Excitement is similar. It cannot be faked. False excitement ruins character. Honest excitement builds character. There are six basic sources of excitement:
1. The excitement of being needed
2. The excitement of being usable
3. The excitement of being on the winning team
4. The excitement of the “greater-than” concept
5. The excitement of expectation (faith)
6. The excitement of goal-setting and goal-reaching
Now for our study of excitement. These sources could well be memorized. They bear oft-repeating.
1. Excitement comes from being needed.
Consider the person who has been defeated. He imagines he is not needed. He believes the devil’s lie. Wise was the man who said, “It makes no difference who you are or what you are, or how discouraged you may be, if you are still alive, God has a purpose for your life.”
Secret of the Holy Spirit remains a classic, has another work entitled, The Surrendered Life, written in 1903. He says:
The Lord hath need of thee, saved one. Trade, with all its rush, and fever, and wear, and waste, lays its hands upon the Christian and says curtly: I need you to plan, think, toil, accumulate, and die in my service.” Society, too, asserts its claim, and says: `I need you with your wit, beauty, talents and accomplishments to shine in the brilliant circles of fashion, and will give you pleasure without limit if you will yield to me.” Professional life lays its hand on him and says: “I need you to adorn your chosen calling, and will gratify your highest ambitions if you will come.” But there comes a voice, softly floating down twenty vanished centuries, a voice which whispers to every redeemed child of God in the hour when wealth, and pleasure, and ambition have failed to satisfy his secret
longings; a voice which is true today as of old: “The Lord hath need of thee.”
There are so many people in the world to be helped, and each of us can be used to help others. In China alone there are so many people that if those hundreds of millions were to be lined up four abreast and begin marching in columns around the world the line would never come to an end. In Jesus’ day there were 250 million people in the world; in A.D. 1600, 500 million; in A.D. 1900, one and one-half billion; and by A.D. 2000 there will be 6 billion.
When a philosopher found himself in a concentration camp, and spent several years watching his friends struggle to stay alive, he concluded, “He who has a why to live can live with almost any how.”
Your why is that Christ needs you. Christ needs you in a world where people are falling apart. God, in his mighty plan, thrust you into the most exciting and troubled generation ever. There are people you can reach no one else can ever reach. The Lord hath need of thee!
2. Excitement comes from being usable.
The thrilling life is the usable life. The first-century disciples also gained a great deal of excitement because they knew they were usable. They stayed on their knees until they were. Then they expected God to use them.
In our honest moments we know God cannot use an unclean vessel. When sin is confessed, and the vessel is clean, the individual feels usable. Paul exhorts Timothy to “purge himself” that he might be “a vessel unto honour, sanctified, meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Tim. 2:21). Just as sin in the life removes every trace of excitement, confession and cleansing can restore it.
Someone recently game me an outline entitled “The Man God Uses.” The list is excellent for periodic checkup.
THE MAN GOD USES
1. He has but one great purpose in life.
2. He has, by God’s grace, removed every hindrance from his life.
3. He has placed himself absolutely at God’s disposal.
4. He has learned how to prevail in prayer.
5, He is a student of the Word.
6. He has a vital, living message for the lost world.
7. He is a man of faith who expects results.
8. He works in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Some years ago, two missionaries in China were talking. One was praying, “Lord, use me.” The other said, “Stop praying like that. It’s not any of your business whether the Lord uses you or not. You just get usable.”
Vance Havner remarks, “Stop praying, ‘Lord, use me’ and get usable and the Lord will wear you out! ”
3. Excitement comes from the “winning team concept.”
Attend a football game and watch the crowd. At the outset everybody is excited. But soon excitement grows or lags depending on whose team is winning.
The resurrection of Christ turned eleven disheartened disciples around. They had previously thought they were on the winning team, but when even the grave could not hold Christ, they knew they were on the winning team! And their excitement grew by the moment. “With boldness” (Acts 4:31), “with great power” (4:33), “full of faith and power” (6:8), and “filled with joy” (13:52) became common descriptive terms in the book of Acts. Some even said they were turning the world upside down actually they were turning it right-side up! They were excited and had reason to be-they were on the winning team.
Consider the book of Revelation. Written in one of the dark hours of persecution, the theme is “Get excited-we’re on the winning team!”
4. Excitement comes from the “greater-than” concept. Another thought that leaps from the lives of the first-century disciples is the “greater-than” concept. How could a few men (fishermen, tax collectors, common laborers, and the like) be charged with enough enthusiasm to take on the first-century Roman world? They believed (1) Christ lived in them and (2) Christ was greater-than ! They went about thinking, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” ( 1 John 4:4). Christ had given them an advanced preview of that thought in his last conversation with them (John 14: 17-23).
The promises of God are not all past or future tense.
Check them out for the here-and-now.
“The Lord is the strength of my life ” (Ps. 27: 1).
“Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” ( 1 Cor. 15:57).
“We are more than conquerors though him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37).
“My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Cor. 12:9). [Our God] is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).
The Lord is my shepherd” (Ps. 23: 1).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8: 1).
“God is able to make all grace abound toward you” (2 Cor. 9:8).
“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
5. Excitement comes from expectation (faith),
Jim Hylton excitingly comments, “You can’t write checks on the Bank of Heaven until you know your account. But once you know what kind of account you have in heaven, you can go and
start writing checks on it (on your privileges). But if you don’t know what kind of account you have you are not going to be drawing on the resources of God.”
Imagine waking up each morning, thinking, “I can draw on the resources of God!” Of course you can-if your account is right and up-to-date.
The person God will choose to use will be the one who has faith and expects results. God is insulted by those who hold a “little God” concept, yet the biggest thing millions ask him to do each day is “bless the food.”
Henry Ford said, “Whether or not you think you can, you’re right!” I would add, “Whether or not you think God can do it through you, you’re right!” If you refuse to honor God enough to believe him for big things, he will go on only blessing your food.
If a man refuse to believe God for big things, let him at least not blame God when nothing happens. Let him wonder no longer why excitement never comes his way-excitement comes from expectation.
6. Excitement comes From goal-setting and goal-reaching.
Not failure, but low aim, is our crime. Perhaps the subject of goals demands a study all by itself. We’ll tackle that in the next chapter.
Christ in You
You’ve just learned six good sources of excitement. Don’t forget them.
Could we summarize all six statements by saying-You have every right to be excited if Christ is in your life. Christ in you, the hope of glory! (Col. 1:27). He is the-
Source of your being needed,
Reason you can be usable.
Coach of the winning team,
Secret to the “greater-than” concept,
Author of your expectation, plus being the Power in goal setting and goal reaching.
Stay close to him and you’ll get excited. Follow him from afar and you’ll drift into a dull, routine-like existence. You don’t want to exist, you want to live. You don’t want to just think excitement, you want to live excitement.
Every saved person can rejoice-“Christ in me? I just can’t wait to walk the next mile with him!”