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  • Writer's pictureGODVERSITY

5 Ways To Live With Enthusiasm



One survey reports that 54% of all Americans go to work primarily to escape the boredom of life at home. And 70% of American teenagers say they are bored with school. The survey also reported that 25% of teenagers said they got drunk on the weekend because they were so bored.

THE MAIN IDEA:

The difference between living and existing can often be traced to one’s philosophy of life.

The God-given philosophy of life involves many aspects, but today I’d like to summarize part of that philosophy through three "Remember" statements.

I. Remember That You Control Some Things (7-10)

If you take a victimized attitude toward life and approach life passively, you will lose out.

A. Enjoy the Simple Pleasures and Cultivate Fun, Joy, and Humor

1. Too many of us begin the young adults years thinking that once we get everything in place, we’ll live happily ever after…..career, spouse, family….

2. But Solomon advocates an intentional way to find pleasure in the simple things of life....like eating and drinking…

3. Happy people find joy in the routine and mundane; they enjoy the special times & events, but they are enjoying the daily grind….

B. Make Everyday a Party

1. Emeril has written a cookbook by this title, but Solomon had the idea first

2. The idea of being clothed in white is that we should be in festive dress…

3. Erma Bombeck has done a good job elaborating on this theme: IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER

(Written after she found out she was dying from cancer.)- by Erma Bombeck

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ’good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance

in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you’s." More "I’m sorry’s."

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it , live it and never give it back.

4. How literally do we take Solomon’s “always be clothed in white”?

Contrast with Ecclesiastes 7:2:

“ It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure. It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools.”

Wisdom literature often uses the hot and cold technique, as did Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount, where concepts are presented in extreme fashion. The balanced picture comes from integrating them all. Ecclesiastes 3:4 gives us that integration:

[There is] “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

5. God wants us to experience the full spectrum of what it means to be human; we should not avoid the house of mourning, and we should try to make our others days a party; what we should not do is live life obliviously…without wonder and enthusiasm…

C. Make Your Marriage a Source of Joy.

Marriages which often begin as exciting adventures morph into routines and predictability…

1. J. Paul Getty was one of the richest men who ever lived. You wouldn’t expect him to be envious of anyone. But Getty once said he was envious of those who knew how to make marriage work and be happy in marriage. Getty knew whereof he spoke, because his record was five marriages and five divorces. If you have a

Adrian Rogers, Ten Secrets for a Successful Family (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1996), 169

2. Getting married is not the same as enjoying life WITH your wife….

(1) it is good for married people to have individual interests….I am not discouraging that by any means…some couples do nothing separately…

(2) it takes work, but couples who want to follow Solomon’s advice need to find some common interests…not just GET THROUGH life together, but ENJOY LIFE together…in almost every case, this take INTENTIONALITY

(3) Some couples have weekly or monthly dates…Saturday breakfast, plays, concerts…kids in common okay, but what happens when they get older?

(4) Marylu and I do ballroom dancing once or twice a month; we sometimes cook meals together and we talk a lot…some couples read mystery books aloud…although we often pray with the kids as a family, sometimes we simply pray together…church ministries together…(Summer Youth)

(5) To enjoy life with your spouse, it takes 2 who want to do this; intentionality, perseverance, bouncing back when disappointed, thought, prayer, and a little playfulness doesn’t hurt….

D. Do What You Do With Enthusiasm

Put your heart into responsibilities….walk the extra mile…

The difference between living and existing can often be traced to one’s philosophy of life.

II. Remember That Your Control Is Limited (11-12)

1. Everyone hates the unpredictability of life, but control freaks really pay for their obsession

2. Life is not fair; the potential for a wild card is always there…

3. Time and chance affect our training, discipline, and decisions….

(1) How many athletes would have won the contest, but they twisted an ankle or came down sick at the last minute? I think it is something like 50,000 Americans are killed every year in auto accidents. The threats of Terrorism are grim reminders as to how vulnerable we all are; rich or poor, we can build no impenetrable wall against the providence of God.

(2) Although nothing happens w/out God’s permission, God’s permission is unpredictable; we can have security in our relationship with God, but not in life.

(3) Everything can be find, and then disaster can strike (12-13)

--we all hate to think of this; yet we acknowledge this reality grudgingly, and try to be prepared as best we can: health insurance, life insurance, a will, savings…

4. One of the best preparations for the unforeseen is the consciously realization that our control is limited….it also reminds us of how desperately we need God…

5.When these times come, we have two choice: Go through them with God or without Him.

III. Remember That Substance Is More Important Than Image (13-18)

1. History provides us with an example of a man delivering a city by Wisdom:

“When Alexander the Great was about to destroy the city Lampsacus, his

old master Anaximenes came out to meet him. Alexander, suspecting his

design, that he would intercede for the city, being determined to destroy it,

swore that he would not grant him any thing he should ask. Then said

Anaximenes, “I desire that you will destroy this city.” Alexander

respected his oath, and the city was spared. Thus, says Valerius

Mancimus, the narrator, (lib. 7:c. iii., No. 4. Extern.,) by this sudden turn

of sagacity, this ancient and noble city was preserved from the destruction

by which it was threatened.” Adam Clarke

2. Here, the wise man is a nobody; he is soon forgotten. But he is a man of substance, while the foolish King, who has all the trappings and wealth, gets the glory.

3. One of the BIG FIGHTS in our world is that between SUBSTANCE AND IMAGE.

This is especially true in the realms of morals and spiritual truth.

(a) Abortionists present themselves as compassionate toward young women…

--Who cares about the baby

--Who cares about the emotional, spiritual, and even physical dangers that will result?

(b) Churches with a lot of glitz and Hollywood productions and emotional manipulation or with an aura created by artwork and ritual draw millions….yet the substance of real Christianity is in the truth found in Scripture, the very teachings of Jesus and the Apostles; yet such churches are often noted for their very neglect of and ignorance of God’s Word; they use it, but do not study it nor develop their belief from it.

3. King Saul looked like a King; he was tall and handsome; but God said to Samuel,

"Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

But David, the red headed lad and youngest son of Jesse was the King who was the man after God’s own heart…

4. Being in the limelight does not necessarily correlate with being near to the heart of God. A wise man is not manipulated by surface matters nor image: he gravitates toward substance.

5. One of my goals as your pastor is to train you to recognize the difference between substance and image; between playing at religion and pretending and real dedication to the truth of God’s Word; one of the best indicators is a willingness to get input from Scripture and to adjust ones beliefs and values in light of CAREFUL Bible study…

6. One indicator of shallowness is the “I feel” or “Doesn’t this make your spirit soar?” Substance is founded on truth, not human opinion, not feeling, not partial truths, nor sloppily interpreted Scripture.

The difference between living and existing can often be traced to one’s philosophy of life.

CONCLUSION

1. Remember That You Control Some Things

2. Remember That Your Control Is Limited

3. Remember That Substance Is More Important Than Image

4. Make life an adventure; rediscover wonder, enjoy life through intentionally making plans that are enjoyable; accept that you cannot micromanage life or control everything, that nothing is guaranteed, and target substance over image

5. If you embrace this philosophy, you will not only enjoy life to the fullest, you will become a person of depth.

May God richly bless you.

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