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Sunday Message for October 9, 2022


This month we are studying the faculty of Zeal or Enthusiasm and the color representing this is Orange. What we want to learn and practice this week is that Zeal is the power that moves us forward. It is the fuel that is necessary in our spiritual growth and development. There is never an absence or lack of enthusiasm in our lives. We will always have all that we will ever need. If, however, we feel we lack this power, then we need to return to the silence to increase our awareness of its very presence and the unlimited Source which supplies us: God. Let our enthusiasm cooperate with our power of order so that our energy and effort, born of enthusiasm, will bring us happiness and satisfaction.

Zeal is the power of intensity and enthusiasm. Like Imagination, it is what fires our souls and helps us over the hurdles of life, including the part of our being that wants to keep us safe and secure and tied to the way things were. Zeal needs the help of the other powers, particularly the power of wisdom. Because Zeal can run rampant, consuming our life force, our energy, in its single-minded pursuit of its goals. A little zeal is absolutely necessary; a lot of zeal needs to be tempered by wisdom, the power that involves judgment and spiritual discernment.

Zeal, represented by the disciple Simon the Zealot is also closely related to the powers of faith and strength. Simon was the original name of Peter, the disciple of faith. The name Simon, metaphysically, means "spiritual substance," and faith is the power to shape substance. So zeal is the power to have intense faith and to shape substance with great ardor - all the more reason for the cooling effects of wisdom, of spiritual discrimination!

Enthusiasm is a spiritual power or ability that we already have. All of our Twelve Powers are like that. We came to this physical plane with everything we needed to succeed.

Enthusiasm comes from the Greek "en" meaning in and "theos" meaning God. Charles Fillmore wrote in The Twelve Powers that, "Enthusiasm (or zeal) is the "impulse to go forward, the urge behind all things."a We can't accomplish anything without some enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, rightly and wisely channeled brings zest for living, joy, exuberance, and the ability to help convert good desires to successful outcomes.

How do we develop our zeal power or ability? Remember that you already are created with a zest and motivation for living. We don't drum up enthusiasm. We don't pump it up. It is a power with which we are innately endowed. We experience enthusiasm in a spiritual way as a deep sense of what the ancients called, "harmony of the spheres" or "in tune with the Infinite." The Universe has a vibrational level that fires our enthusiasm - when we choose to be in alignment with it.

Some people, even religious zealots, may become so fired up that they grow tired, burn out, or get "fired" from their job because they don't listen or work in an orderly, harmonious way. Order is enthusiasm's brother/sister power. So know this as your affirmation for Zeal: "I WORK WITH GOD, AND I AM ENTHUSIASTIC, FOCUSED, AND SUCCESSFUL."

So let's see what enthusiasm looks like when it is rightly understood; and what it looks like when it is not:

Some limiting uses:

A. If you think Zeal mans that everything must be a big deal or it isn't important, then you haven't got it right yet. Zeal is not being a drama queen.

B. Money talks. Big is better. Zeal or Enthusiasm is also not about being grandiose.

C. Be a "fan." Fan is short for fanatic! Fan club, sports fan. Religious fan. Live vicariously. Live symbiotically or co-dependently. My life is lived for you/for something out there. Enthusiasm is not about hero worship or even about living for other people. It is about you and God.

D. Also, Zeal is not about getting carried away with a big new love interest, job interest, or a new project. If you find yourself always wanting to move, get new clothes, or buy new furniture - but "get tired" of them quickly - you haven't yet found your Zeal. (Psalms 69:9) "It is zeal for your house that has consumed me..."b Which means that the zeal faculty has become so active intellectually that it has consumed the vitality and left nothing for spiritual growth.

"Take time to be holy." Turn a portion of your zeal to do God's will to the establishing of the Kingdom within you. Don't put all your enthusiasm into helping others; help yourself. Don't let your zeal run away with your judgment.

Some spiritualized, freeing uses of enthusiasm:

A. Enjoyment of every day. Find humor and excitement in ordinary things. Get enthusiastic about a sunset or a child's smile or just about your Oneness with God.

B. Value a wildflower as much as a bouquet, a smile as much as an expensive gift. Be a Zealot for the simple things in life.

C. Develop balanced interests in many different kinds of ideas and people. A one-track mind can be a sidetracked mind! Steven Covey addresses this in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He suggests planning your week to include doing positive things in all areas of your life: your work, your family, your community, your church, and your self.c

D. Play the game! Be your own star, not a stargazer or fan club member. Be heroic yourself. Get involved in life and helping rather than being a TV spectator or observer/critic. Be excited about personal growth, accomplishment, sharing, and making the world better for everyone.

E. Have 'staying' enthusiasm - the ability to follow through on relationships, projects, and things that are worthwhile. "Keep coming back." With enthusiasm, even repetition is progress. Not a pattern of anticipation, beginning interest, then faultfinding, boredom, and on to something different. The race is not just to the swift but to the ones who keep "showing up." There are no failures - only people who quit too soon.

F. Enthusiasm does carry us forward, but it also enables us to be vitally interested in following through on what is worthwhile.
(Philippians 3:14) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.d

Be enthusiastic about who your are! Some people are apathetic and regretful about who they are. "I'm just me, I guess." "I'm just a mechanic." This person has just as much enthusiasm as anyone does, but he or she is not expressing it.

Have faith! Be in love with life! Affirm the following:
•I am glad to be who I am, and I am glad to be living the life God has given me.
•I am not reluctant to feel enthusiastic, for enthusiasm creates new interest in my life.
•I am enthusiastic about following through on what I start that needs to be finished.
•My enthusiasm reveals that my life is a constant progress; even repetition is progress.
•I do not need any false excitement in life, for my enthusiasm comes from the Spirit.
•Enthusiasm makes me attractive and optimistic and blesses me with spiritual motivation.

You can see King David's Zeal especially in Psalms 118. Actually, the two verses of Psalm 117 belong to Psalm 118. King David used this as he came to the temple to offer thanks for a victory.

It would be a good practice to read Psalms 118 every morning before you went out to walk about the world. It would be even better if you recite or sing it.

It starts out with a Universal Call to Worship:
(Psalms 117:1-2)
Praise the Lord, all you nations!
   Extol him, all you peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
   and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!e

Verses 1-4 is the King's summons to thanksgiving:

(Psalms 118:1-4)
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
   his steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say,
   "His steadfast love endures forever."
Let the house of Aaron say,
   "His steadfast love endures forever."
Let those who fear the Lord say,
   "His steadfast love endures forever."

Then in verses 5-18 David relates his experience; how he was desperate and God gave him the victory.

(Psalms 118:5-9)
Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
   the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
   What can mortals do to me?
The Lord is on my side to help me;
   I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
   than to put confidence in mortals.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
   than to put confidence in princes.

Then in verses 21-25 King David is saying how God has borne witness to his character by delivering him when others had given him up, then he joyously acknowledges what God has done.

(Psalms 118:21-25)
I thank you that you have answered me
   and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord's doing;
   it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
   let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
   O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

If you recited nothing but verse 24, you couldn't help but be enthusiastic.
"This is the day that the Lord has made;
   let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Then the rest of the Psalm is blessing, thanksgiving, and praise:

(Psalms 118:26-29)
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
   We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God,
   and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
   up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
   you are my God, I will extol you.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
   for his steadfast love endures foreverf

Kahlil Gibran writes on pleasure in his book The Prophet. But it could very well be about Zeal:

And he answered, saying:
Pleasure is a freedom-song,
But it is not freedom.
It is the blossoming of your desires,
But it is not their fruit.
It is a depth calling unto a height,
But it is not the deep nor the high.
It is the caged taking wing,
But it is not space encompassed.
Ay, in very truth, pleasure is a freedom-song.
And I fain would have you sing it with fullness of heart; yet I would not have you lose your hearts in the singing.g

Let it be your way

aCharles Fillmore The Twelve Powers
bPsalms 69:9
cSteven Covey Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
dPhilippians 3:14
ePsalms 117:1-2
fPsalm 118
gKahlil Gibran The Prophet

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