Inspiration that lasts

     I remember reading about a Catholic who drifted away from the church and lost interest in religion all together. But one day she was passing a Catholic cathedral, walked in when the organ was playing, and she burst into tears.  

     It really surprised her, how intense her emotions were after all that time away from church. But what a wonderful moment, that sudden lifting of the soul, and if only it could’ve lasted forever! It wasn’t to be, though. It wore off after a while, and she left the cathedral, absorbed by whatever came next.   

    And isn’t life like that? It has its inspiring moments – a song on the radio reviving a memory, a hobby you can’t wait to get back to, a worship service that charges the batteries, or a concert that has you dancing in the aisles. A book will do it, too, so can a movie, a favourite TV series, helping someone in need, an early morning walk, watching kids open gifts, listening to a choir, seeing someone take advice – they’re all wonderful sources of inspiration. 

     But they’re all so temporary. Once the concert’s over and the song has finished, the brain automatically clicks back into cold reality mode and it’s back to the business of survival. I’d hate to be dependent on these things for my inspiration, then, because they only last so long.  

     I like what Paul said, therefore, because it was his dream to keep people inspired all the time. “My aim,” he wrote in Colossians 2:2, “is to keep them in good heart,” always feeling encouraged, positive and hopeful. Why? Verse 2, “so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, and grasp God’s secret, which is Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” It wasn’t Paul’s purpose to lift people’s emotions for the moment, it was to get people discovering the treasures hidden in Christ, because once they got a taste of that, there’d be no stopping them.  

     This was the secret to keeping people inspired all the time. It wasn’t trying to create a really moving sermon or a cleverly orchestrated worship service to win the youth, because they only last for a while, and if people become dependent on emotion for inspiration, they’ll need more and more. But if people hear the gospel and experience for themselves that Christ “is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24),” that’s what will keep them inspired forever!

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