North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose 

    It’s not easy to explain the difference between two Christians, one can be lukewarm and the other steaming with spiritual life. But, it’s sure easy to recognize the difference. The one depresses us spiritually; being prone to negative thinking, poor attitudes, and pointing out the faults in everyone else. But the other one inspires us. When we come in contact with a person of enthusiasm and positivity it has a magical way of brightening our own perspective of life. Enthusiasm in others has a powerful way of running over into our own natures because the motivation behind it is inherently good. Enthusiasm for life and the appreciation of the life God has given us, can, if we let it, warm the most hardened-heart.    Perhaps there’s no more hard-hitting statement in the Bible than the words of Revelation 3:15-16: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. Since you’re lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” This is a sharp and clear-cut declaration of an unwanted state. The person described in this passage has lost their heat and is useless in terms of God’s Kingdom. The hope of obtaining a meaningful purpose in life is all but lost if this becomes your permanent condition.

    There’s a certain pungency that attaches itself to some things, and if you take that away, although it may look the same, it’s absolutely worthless. It’s like the salt, which, having lost its savor is good for nothing. Luke 14:35 says, “Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It’s thrown away. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

    So, there’s something between hot water and lukewarm water that, having disappeared takes away the value with it. Everyone knows really hot water produces steam, but lukewarm water just sits there and produces nothing. The kind of people described in Revelation 3 had lost their power to boil; they had lost their steam in their spiritual life. The once rushing might of spiritual emotion had gone away and the glow of inspiration was no longer shining. The effervescence of being a positive and happy Christian had gone and their enthusiastic bounding joy had bounded away!

    I believe an enthused person is someone that’s most ready to respond to the influence of God’s Spirit. Philip, an early evangelist of Christianity, was that type of person. An impression from the Spirit of God sent him into the desert. And another impression of God’s Spirit had him climbing into the chariot beside the eunuch, where his overflowing faith won the man’s heart to Christ. The Bible says, “He (Philip) ran to the man and told him the Good News about Jesus” (Acts 8:26-40).

    When Anna Marie and David were kids, on a particularly hot summer day, I carried them to a little creek in the woods not far from our home. Blue Springs was the name of the creek and I had known good times there as a kid and I felt it would have the same effect on them. We carried a box of earthworms and three rod and reels; one for each of us. There hadn’t been much rain and the water level was low. In fact, it was low enough for us to cross to the other side by jumping from one big rock to the next. There was a small area of sand that pultruded from the middle of the creek and we decided to stand and fish right there. It was a good spot because it allowed us to cast into an area that looked good for catching fish.

    From the first cast to the last it was a steady catch of one fish after another. In fact, the kids got so excited I didn’t have time to throw my line out. I was too busy baiting hooks for them and putting fish in the bucket. Both of them had an exuberance of spirit that was compounded by the natural joy and enthusiasm they were born with. Never mind there were water moccasins lurking in the water nearby, they were being carried away with the splashing of fish and the competition of who was going to catch the most. It was the best fishing day the three of us had ever had. Wouldn’t it be great if we could catch the fire of the Holy Spirit and let that help us overcome all the fear and worrisome thoughts that challenge us daily?

    Think of your own enthusiastic days as a child. And when you do, know there is in every heart the capacity for an enthusiastic love for service in Christ. Enthusiasm starts in a child and must be encouraged throughout life. Anna Marie and David jumped in the creek where the fish were! As Christians, we must thrust ourselves into the midst of spiritual battles, turn up the heat on our positive faith, and hold to whatever service opportunities God so chooses to give us. As we give ourselves to God in devotion, and as we work, the enthusiasm and the gladness will come. Never undervalue the importance of enthusiasm. Don’t stay in a lukewarm condition and lower the temperature of people around you. Practice the power of enthusiasm.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. He recently published another book titled “Living With Purpose Volume III” and it can be purchased on Contact him at:

Posted by on Nov 6 2016. Filed under Church News, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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