As we continue this week on the marks of a true Christian, today we’re going to look at what it means to be fervent in spirit. You were made to live with a fervent faith, zealous in response to God’s passionate love for you. May God fill all our hearts with his love in a meaningful, authentic way. And may we find the courage in him to live our faith passionately.
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Romans 12:11
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God shares with us, his disciples, an important command in Romans 12:11. Scripture says, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Do you ever feel slothful in zeal? Here, Paul is talking about feeling sluggish in your relationship with God. He’s describing a feeling of laziness, a lack of desire. Do you ever feel like your spirit is anything but fervent? The word fervent here is better translated as “boiling over.” Do you ever feel like your spirit is more like stagnant water? Let’s look today at how we as followers of God can stir up our affections for the Lord. Let’s make space for God to put fire under any area of our spiritual life that feels stagnant that it might boil over in him.
Foundational to understanding Romans 12:11 is the knowledge that God will never ask you to do something or be something without his help. You are never alone in your spiritual growth. Your job is simply to create space in your heart for God to mold and shape you. Your job is to engage with him and let the Spirit teach, lead, and fill you. Your heavenly Father is near to you. He has a perfect plan to guide you into spiritual growth and fervor. So, in light of that understanding, how can you engage with God and allow him to mold and shape you into a person of greater fervor and zeal?
Psalm 19:7 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” And Psalm 19:8 says, “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.” Scripture makes clear that to be zealous and fervent in your service to God, you must spend time allowing his word to inflame your spiritual fire. Spending time reading about the depths of God’s love for his people, the length he will go for you as his child, and the example of lives empowered by the Spirit will assuredly fill you with passion and zeal. When you spend time in God’s word, you are not only reading incredible stories, but hearing the voice of your living and active heavenly Father. Spend time with his word, allowing the voice of God to direct your soul to finding its rest and passion in him.
When you spend time with God, you will naturally be filled with a desire and passion to serve him. Reflect for a moment on how different you feel when you are inflamed with passion in comparison to feeling slothful. You have the power to choose how you will live life every day. You have the choice to engage with God, read his word, spend time in his presence, and allow him to mold and shape you. You also have the power to live a passionless life. The choice is yours. But know God is faithful to fill you with his Spirit every day if you will make space for him to do so. He has total grace for the times you feel sluggish; at the same time he has a perfect plan to lead you out of that state into being “fervent in spirit.” Engage with God today in prayer. Meditate on his word. Let him fill you with the power and anointing of his Holy Spirit.
The Message translates Romans 12:11 as saying, “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.” May you experience today the life of a “cheerfully expectant” person “fueled” and set “aflame” by the love and leading of God.
1. Spend time meditating on God’s word. Choose a passage that will stir up your affections for God. Passages like “The High Priestly Prayer” in John 17 are great for encountering God’s heart.
2. Now, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you afresh. Spend time in God’s presence allowing him to fill you with a desire to serve him.
“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
3. Ask the Spirit to show you ways you can serve God today. God has a specific plan to use you today to bring spiritual awakening to those around you. He could have you give someone a gift, encourage someone, pray for someone, or even simply engage in conversation with a stranger. Follow the voice of the Spirit as he guides and directs you today.
Finish up the time you spend alone with God today by simply asking his presence to linger with you. Ask him to continually fill you with the flame of his love. Know that wherever you go today he will be there. Whenever you feel sluggish in spirit, he is there to fill you up. Continually engage with him and live today with his grace and love as your foundation and fuel.