Get Fired Up!
Have you ever been fired up for something and then slowly your enthusiasm fades? Perhaps your initial idea was too overwhelming or difficult to accomplish, you met obstacles along the way, or the realities and responsibilities of life just jumped in the middle.
I am an idea person. I can get so fired up about something that often times other ideas grow from that. Sometimes the ideas are not possible and other times they are. Some ideas just take the right resources and a team’s dedication of time to make them successful. Getting fired up about something and staying fired up though, are two very different things.
Staying fired up is easier when a strong leader is in charge or when surrounded by a group of excited and motivated people. Sometimes the way you ”read” something is all in your attitude. Take for instance, the story about a bank in Binghamton, New York. The bank decided to send a floral arrangement to one of its business patrons who had moved into a new building. Unfortunately there was a mix up at the florist and the card sent with the arrangement read, ”With our deepest sympathy”. The florist apologized, but became even more embarrassed when they learned that the floral arrangement sent to a funeral home read, ”Congratulations on your new location.” Sometimes your attitude can affect your perception and depending on how you “read” things, you can take a mistake and flip it for the good and that will keep you in the fired up mode.
Last week we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord, Christ Jesus. The disciples went from being frighten, scared, and unsure of what they would do; to a full celebration with the resurrected Lord. This group of dedicated men, team Jesus, were Christ’s inner circle. They became fired up for what He taught and all He stood for, until that fated night of His arrest when one of them, Peter, denied knowing who He was while the rest of them scattered running away. When we view them after Christ has been laid in the tomb; we find them hiding, meeting in a locked room, trying to decide what to do next. (John 20:19) They were no longer fired up, for when they lost their leader they eventually went back to doing what they had done before; fishing.
How many times have we been fired up and ready to keep moving, only to lose the energy that propelled us forward with our mission, as soon as trouble came upon the horizon? How many times have we, like the disciples, just gone back to the way we did things before? As we continue to read though the history of the days after Christ’s death, the story unfolds quickly and we learn that Jesus didn’t just desert them. Christ didn’t head on to the Kingdom of God and give up on all He did on earth and all He went through for our salvation.
This week’s focus verse solidifies Christ resurrection and how He didn’t end His teaching upon His death. Christ continued to confirm not only who He was but also to teach the disciples for an additional forty days after His resurrection. He had to rekindle the fire and wave the flames so they would not weaken again. He not only fired the disciples back up but He made sure, they stayed fired up.
It was important that the disciples fulfill God’s mission and purpose for them. So Jesus spent these forty days with dedicated teaching so the apostles would understand more fully their mission and to make sure that their knowledge would be unshakable for any opposition they may encounter. These forty days of getting the disciples fired up, proved to them in many ways that Jesus was actually alive and had risen from the dead. It proved to them that He was who He said He was. Suddenly they realized that all He had taught them over the last three years, made connection. This time of teaching, not only fired up the disciples for the immediate time; it fired them up for good. The overwhelming evidence of the disciples being fired up is seen in how they spend the rest of their lives, as the birth of the church unfolds as these men and those who follow them put their lives on the line.
During the forty days after His crucifixion, He appeared to the apostles from time to time and He proved to them in many ways that He was actually alive. And He talked to them about the kingdom of God. Acts 1:3 (NLT)
Staying Fired Up!
The apostles were so fired up; they started living their life in strict dedication so that their actions spoke as loud as their words. They had nothing to gain by putting their lives on the line if Jesus was not, the Son of God. A change had certainly come over them as they went from hiding behind locked doors to being so excited and fired up that they were ready to go to the ends of the earth, telling others their story. Jesus had them so pumped and fired up that even after He ascended at last to heaven, that the apostles were willing to wait around another ten days for the Holy Spirit to come and descend upon them. The Holy Spirit becomes the staying power of being fired up. The excitement is contagious.
The disciples learned that the key to staying fired up with the Holy Spirit takes some daily focused effort. The excitement is always there as the disciples realized that death is not the end and instead it is the beginning. They learned in forty days that their life must focus on the mission that God gave them and not on their personal issues.
It is easy to get caught up in what the world thinks is important. It is easy to allow our belief to slide, enthusiasm to wane, and a fired up spirit to lose it vigor but by using the three points of what the disciples learned, you too, can not only get fired up but stay fired up so you can complete your mission and purpose for God on earth while you are here.
- Decide ”“ You must make a concrete decision to follow Jesus. This seems an obvious first step but too often the ways of the world seem more appealing, easier, and sometimes pressing; causing the obvious to seem confusing. Decide to follow Jesus.
- Discover ”“ You must continually discover new things about God and Christ through a strong relationship that involves, study, prayer, and listening. Sometimes discovery is best done by doing nothing but listening closely. Discover more about the God you serve every day.
- Devote ”“ You must devote your life to God. This becomes your passion and it is your devotion that pushes you forward to share your knowledge with others. It is the devotion that will give greater meaning on the overpowering importance of the Kingdom of God. Christ is not about the cross so don’t leave Him there. Christ is about His work and His work’s devotion was to helping the people understand not only who He is but the meaning of the Kingdom of God. Devote your life to your purpose and you will not only be fired up but stay fired up.
The disciples learned that Jesus’ work wasn’t limited to heaven. Forty days taught them that the first mission began on earth and it is the one to accomplish. They also learned that they could stay banded together with their new knowledge through the initial formation of the church. But understood that they had to separate in order to spread what they learned. It would serve no purpose for the mission if they only stay contained within themselves, paying no attention to their purpose; while lost people surrounded them.
Thirty years ago, there was a report that the busy city of New OrlÃ©ans decided to celebrate the fact that its city pools had a successful summer season with not one drowning occurring during the entire summer. To celebrate, more than two hundred lifeguards and guests attended a pool-side party. Fired up with their own success, more than 100 certified lifeguards congratulated themselves. As the party was ending the four lifeguards on duty noted a fully dressed body in the deep end of the pool. They attempted to revive the 31-year-old man, but it was too late. He had drowned surrounded by lifeguards celebrating the success of their season. They had become such a close-knit group that they couldn’t see outside of themselves.
The apostles could have accepted the Holy Spirit and stayed with the other believers never fulfilling their purpose. Instead, they decided to follow Jesus’ work, discovering new things every day about the kingdom of God, and devoting their life to God. Today we are often surrounded by people who are over their heads and drowning fast in the values of the world. Sometimes we do not notice because we are too busy attending our celebrations at our church, with our small groups, or just worrying about our personal life. We are too busy having a good time at the party to take the time to notice or care about those in need just outside our doors. There are people around us drowning, do we continue to party or should we get fired up and decide, discover, and devote our life to saving them.
Are you fired up for this mission? Do you question the disciple’s dedication of belief? If so, I challenge you with these closing thoughts. Would these disciples be willing to suffer and die for a lie? Would 11 people concoct a fabrication so clever that none of them were ever caught? If so, why would they agree to die for the fabrication? Does this motivate you to realize that the truth is in the proof of the awesome evidence of what the apostles learned and then did?
This knowledge should not only motivate you but challenge you to tell others about Christ? Can you stay fired up because there is comfort in knowing that there really is proof that Christ is the Son of God? Be challenged to fulfill your mission on earth telling others what you know about Christ?
It is clear that when something is on fire it will ignite the other materials around it. A fire that does not spread will eventually go out. Take the next forty days to fan your personal flame of Christ with decision, discovery, and devotion staying fired up to complete your mission on earth.
Love in Christ,
Not everything that counts can be counted. Not everything that can be counted counts.
Dr. Charles Garfield
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Do you stay fired up for Christ? Have you allowed the ways of the world to put out your flame? Have you discovered new ways to get and stay fired up for God? Join us in discussion on the topic of staying fired up for Christ, telling others the good news.