Set the Atmosphere… Excitement is Contagious


I get joy when I think about,  

What He’s done for me;

I get joy when I think about,

What He’s done for me;

You can’t tell it, let me tell it,

What He’s done for me;

You can’t tell it, let me tell it,

What He’s done for me

“I Get Joy,” Traditional African American “Call and Response” Song

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said,  

Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

I used to be a choir director. Once the choir got their vocal parts right, we were ready to make music. Getting the parts right and making music are not the same. 

What do I mean by “make music,” you may ask?

Making music has to do with creating the atmosphere with the art of sound. Music really only happens where there is enthusiasm!

It’s what Emerson means when he describes enthusiasm as “putting your soul into it!” It is the difference between existing and living. People who are not enthusiastic about life are not really living to their maximum potential. So, enthusiasm creates the atmosphere not only in making music but also in making a life out of existing. 

Living with enthusiasm enlivens our surrounding. It is influential! One’s enthusiasm initiates a sort of dance with others much like African indigenous “call and response” singing. 

Call and response singing ignited communal hope that sustained African slaves, as well as, African Americans during the Jim Crow era. Call and response is when a leader sings one verse and the chorus answers with another verse. 

The dancing together approach to singing in call and response stirs-up the Spirit. If there were sadness before, it has been replaced with joy! Before you know it, there is an atmosphere of communal joy – filled with dancing and praise. 

By God’s grace, we have the fortitude to create the atmosphere that brings life to others. 

You can set the atmosphere in your home, school, job, community!

It’s probably easier than you think. Well, condition what you think.

No pun intended!

The way that we think will develop within us what we need to exude excellence, not only in our lives but in our surroundings. 

Paul was incarcerated in Rome for preaching the gospel. Yet, from his prison cell, Paul penned one of the most inspirational letters of the New Testament to the church in Philippi. Philippians 4:8 gets at the heart of the message here:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

What have you been thinking about? Our days are as good as our thoughts. As the song says, 

I get joy when I think about,

What He’s done for me;

We cannot enjoy God’s goodness without thinking about them. We cannot set the atmosphere around us with soul-stirring inspiration if we don’t take initiative to think about positive things.

Think about the good things the Lord has done. Think about how fearfully and wonderfully God has equipped you with talents and gifts – talents and gifts that you are still discovering and sharpening, daily. 

Remember, the way you think determines what mood you exude. Even the worst ones of us resent negativity. We lead, we create positive outcomes – first with the way we think. Think truth, nobility, righteousness, purity, loveliness and admirable things, you will create awesome possibilities. 

Even more, your enthusiasm about awesomeness will cause others to dance with you!

Dr. Antipas

Dr. Antipas L. Harris
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