It’s easy to let excitement carry us.
I’ve been told the excitement and anticipation of making a major purchase can release the same pleasure chemicals in our brain as actually making the purchase. Our brains can get high on excitement and anticipation.
But what if that excitement is fueling the wrong thing? What happens when our excitement is all we’re excited about?
Last week, we started a nine part series on Acts 1:6-8. Today, we continue that journey focusing on verse six. Let’s read it in context.
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The Apostles were very excited about doing the will of the Father as given by Jesus. They had high inspiration because they were highly excited. And in this excited inspiration they asked Jesus in verse six, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
John Calvin commented on verse six, “There are as many errors in this question as words”.
- The verb (in Greek, the language of the New Testament) “restore” shows that the apostles were expecting a political and territorial kingdom only.
- The noun “Israel” informs us they were expecting a national and ethnic kingdom only.
- The adverbial clause “at this time” tells us they were expecting its immediate establishment.
About the only parts right in this question are “Lord” and “you”.
They’re right: He is Lord and it is Jesus who brings about the Kingdom of God. But Jesus’ arrival on Earth was so much bigger than a political and territorial kingdom. It was so much bigger than a national kingdom and its scope was so much larger than just the years of His earthly ministry.
They had passionate inspiration but there was a critical error: it was misplaced.
Nevertheless, the Apostles were excited about the Kingdom of God and they were inspired to do whatever it would take to make this happen.
In Stories for the Christian Year, Virginia Owens wrote, “At its best, our earthly life is like a Palm Sunday parade, a procession of faith and great expectations in the face of certain failure — or it will be nothing but a resignation to futility. Our excitement is always going to be out of focus.”
It really can happen that way for us: we can get so excited that our excitement ends up clouding reality out of the picture. Our passion, which is one of our greatest assets, can sometimes become our greatest liability.
We move forward in our Christian life so sure of what’s going to happen and so sure of certain victory and the reality is we have absolutely no idea what might happen. And when the unexpected happens we are crushed because our inspiration is fueled by excitement, not faith or obedience.
Yet, there is A LOT of power in our inspirations exciting us. It moves us to action. It keeps us moving. It drives us forward.
Let’s just make sure our inspiration with its associated excitement isn’t acting on a question we shouldn’t even be asking.