“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)
Do you understand the words here? Zeal is an ardent interest or pursuit of something. Fervor is intensity of feeling or expression. So what Paul is encouraging here is enthusiasm. Putting energy into your walk with God. Heart, soul, mind, strength, everything thrown into your relationship with God and your service in his kingdom. No holding back.
I have a question for you: Why in the world would you not live like this? Think about what God’s done for you. Out of his deep, deep love for you, he sent his Son to die in your place so you could have eternal life with him. So that you wouldn’t be alone and powerless in this world, he sent his Holy Spirit to help you grow, to make you more and more like Jesus. In view of his mercy and grace and help and power and everything else he’s done, I can’t imagine living for him in any other way than all out.
At the beginning of this twelfth chapter of Romans, Paul said this, “I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)
The King James says offering yourself to God is your reasonable service. Is it not reasonable to give yourself totally, passionately to God when you consider his gracious treatment of you? You were condemned, lost, hopeless when he found you. You couldn’t save yourself. You couldn’t stop sinning. You were pitiful, poor, blind and naked. You were bound.
Now, though, since God has done his work in you, since he has taken your sin from you, since he has given you life, you are free! Free to love. Free to forgive. Free to serve.
Slaves set free aren’t ho-hum, they’re yippee! I know that’s not technically an adjective, but it’s how I feel when I remember Christ’s sacrifice for me. It’s how I choose to live for him – with energy, with fervor, with zeal.
I was talking about having a passion for Christ once, years ago, and a woman said to me, “Passion is what gets you in trouble.” She was absolutely right, you know? Passion is what gets you in trouble. It’s what makes others uncomfortable. They want you to sit down and shut up. “Quit rocking the boat! Stop suggesting that there’s more to this Jesus-following life than sitting in church for an hour on Sunday. Be normal!”
Normal, my friends, is overrated. Normal, as the world defines it, is a dull existence. Why not give your life to God and to the people he sends into your life and see what amazing things he can do in and through you in this world! Don’t worry about the grief you’ll get from others. Remember the joy you’ll get from your Master.
“Never be lacking in zeal,” Paul says. Never! Keep your spiritual fervor! When you feel dead and dull, go after God. Ask for the power you need. He will give it! You will be able to do all that God’s called you to do for his glory and the good of his church.
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