Monday, January 15

All Fired Up

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. --Romans 12:11 (NIV)

Serving the Lord should be an all day, every day event. Much like many things that we should do, this is far more easily said than done. Fortunately, zeal and enthusiasm are not entirely the same thing. One source defines zeal as "prompt willingness." This is an important definition to consider, because it does not require us to be constantly in motion in order to possess spiritual fervor.

There are days when I worry that my zeal may be a bit lack-luster because of a lack of activity on my part. What I have learned in considering this verse is that I don't need to be "all fired up" in order to be effectively serving the Lord. The sincerity of my heart and the strength of my zeal is not dependent on how many activities I do with the church, how many people I encourage or how many Bible verses I can memorize. So long as I am willing to respond obediently to God's call, I am serving the Lord with fervor.

There's nothing wrong with this. Each of us equipped with a set of spiritual gifts. Zeal and fervor may look different from one person to another. In my mind's eye, I picture a heart aflame in one of two ways. Some people's hearts are lit in such way that their flames leap higher with every activity. These are our dear brothers and sisters who return from ministry planning events filled to the brim with ideas and excitement. Others (like myself) tend to exude a more steady, intense flame. It may not fluctuate much, but over time it proves consistent.

I think what Paul is trying to tell us in this verse is that our flame doesn't need to be huge in order to be effective. A steadily burning flame has just as much ignition potential as the crackling fires that spread quickly from one heart to the next. No matter how we get "all fired up" spiritually speaking, we need to do whatever it takes to keep the flame burning. To do this we need to maintain the prompt willingness that is fitting of a person with a zeal and passion for the Lord.

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