LifeThought: Enthusiasm means “God within”

Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

When Emerson wrote this, I am not sure what specific meaning he was applying to the word “enthusiasm,” but his message is clear and correct. Without enthusiasm, greatness cannot be achieved.

The reason nothing great has, can, or ever will be achieved without enthusiasm is found in the meaning of the word itself. When most people hear the word “enthusiasm,” they think it means “excitement,” or “passion,”  and it does, indeed, mean those. However, the reason it means these things is much deeper and found in the Greek origin of the word.

The word “enthusiasm” comes from two Greek words: “en,” meaning “within,” and “theos,” meaning “God”. So the word “enthusiasm” literally means “God within!” It was used to describe people who possessed god-like abilities or very strong, God-inspired, wisdom and convictions.

Think about all of the things you have done in your life, all of the projects, tasks, activities, and even relationships you’ve been involved in. Can you identify those things you did simply because you had to, or you just did it but your heart wasn’t really in it? Now, think about those things that kept you up at night and made it hard to eat or think about anything else because you were so enthusiastic, eager, and convinced beyond all doubt that it was what you were supposed to do!

When you are truly enthusiastic about something, you are being lead by a power that is greater than you, for a purpose far beyond what your eyes can see. You have the power of God within you and there is nothing you cannot do when God is in it! However, if you are just going through the motions or trying to do something that is out of alignment with God, it does not matter how hard you work or how excited you are about it, it will not ultimately succeed.

A good test for whether or not your enthusiasm for something is truly “God within” or just your own human eager desire is the “public test.” Often when we get excited about something that is of our own making and for our own edification, there is a desire to keep it private or do it in secret. If you need to hide what you are doing, chances are pretty good your desire, what you might think is enthusiasm, is not “God within.”

“Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers build in vain.” What Psalm 127:1 means is this: you may build the house, but if it was not God who told you to build the house, the house will not last.

Emerson is right. Without enthusiasm–God within–nothing great can be achieved. With it, all things are possible!

If you enjoyed this, or any of my other posts, I’d be honored if you’d share it with your family, friends and followers!

Do you agree or disagree with what I’ve written? I’d love to hear your comments!

8 Responses to LifeThought: Enthusiasm means “God within”

  1. Melinda Viergever Inman March 27, 2014 at 9:25 AM #

    This made my day! I’m in the process of sorting and shifting. I overcommitted and crashed last summer. I’m still recovering. I am weeding out the projects and activities I took on just because I thought I should, not because I knew God was in it. They were all good things, but the more I cull from my life, the more my vigor returns. I need to focus on those tasks God has given me real enthusiasm to do, not the things other people think I ought to do. Great words, as always, Bruce!

    • Bruce March 27, 2014 at 9:30 AM #

      Melinda, I always appreciate your feedback! Life is a constant struggle between doing what we want to do for a variety of selfish reasons and trying to discern what God wants us to do. Some days we do it right, some days we fall flat on our faces in shame and embarrassment, God is always the same and ready to give grace for our failures.


    • Cindy Fares March 30, 2014 at 1:52 AM #

      I’m so happy I ventured to your site! I love positive thoughts in both my business and personal life. Also, God is the core of my being and without Him, I am nothing! So I was delighted to find out this fact… Thank you Bruce! I subscribed so I don’t miss any great content. I look forward to your site and interacting!

  2. Candice McGarvey March 27, 2014 at 1:57 PM #

    Bruce, THANK YOU for helping me maintain my focus and rekindle my enthusiasm. God is using you powerfully as a teacher and motivator!

    • Bruce March 27, 2014 at 2:15 PM #

      Thank you, Candice! I appreciate you taking the time to read my posts. I’m glad to hear God is using them to speak to you!


  3. Igor January 8, 2015 at 5:01 PM #

    Thanks for this post. Enriching indeed. Enthusiasm is that missing piece…

  4. Steve December 17, 2017 at 4:42 PM #

    I was raised Catholic, but didn’t start having a real relationship with God until about a year ago. My wife and I named our first baby Reece about 6 months ago. I knew that the name Reece meant enthusiastic… but to hear that enthusiastic means “God within” is so special. I often pray that my boy will choose to believe in Jesus, live for God, and be filled with his Holy Spirit… knowing what his name means now is like God sending me a wink that he has heard my prayers, and everything is going to be ok. Thanks, and praise to God!

  5. Richard Bosomtwi August 1, 2020 at 11:13 AM #

    I came across your “life is a marathon” content in 2015, when I was at a hopeless phase of life. God encouraged me through your write ups to regain momentum. Till date I still follow your posts.