Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Does that sound like you? Never lacking in zeal? A spiritual fervor that keeps on keeping on? Your Christian service meter stays on high all the time?
To be honest, my zeal for Christian service has been up and down, hot and cold, with long periods of inactivity.
Conversely, my faith has remained constant. I believe, trust, and know that I am His, and He watches over me.
Most, if not all, of us have been up and down in spiritual fervor. If that wasn’t the case, the writer of the book of Romans wouldn’t have exhorted Christians to keep their spiritual fervor.
Are you old enough to remember the singer Jerry Reed? Back before he became an actor (Smokey and the Bandit) he had a couple of hit songs, most notable was When You’re Hot Your Hot and “when you’re not you’re not.” That’s the way most of us approach Christian service. We get motivated by a sermon, an inspiring testimony, or an inspirational song, and we’re on fire. A short time later — we’re not.
Years ago, my wife and I joined Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. As was their custom for new members, Reverend Frank Barker and his wife, Barbara, invited us to their home for dinner. When we arrived, Frank hadn’t returned yet, so the guests retired to the living room where we chatted until he arrived. Upon his return, he joined us, and confessed that his heart was cold and he needed prayer. Now, here was a man that I considered to be a pillar of spirituality. God had used him to build one of Alabama’s biggest churches from a store front. And his heart was cold?
A cold heart doesn’t mean you don’t still love the Lord. It doesn’t mean you’ve lost your faith, and it definitely doesn’t mean you have lost your salvation. The pilot light is still on, but the heat is turned off.
Frank asked us to pray. Why? Because our spiritual fire comes from the Lord. Spiritual fervor can only come from God. No matter how skilled a worship leader may be, all those attempts at motivating the congregation to lift their hearts to the Lord can only be done through the Holy Spirit.
Thank God, Jesus’ promise to never leave us or forsake us isn’t based upon our spiritual highs and lows. Even when our hearts are cold, Jesus remains consistently and continually faithful.
There are many reasons we lose our spiritual fervor. The most obvious is sin. But there are other factors: burnout, overload, disappointment, life’s burdens, relationship conflicts, and lack of time with God in prayer. And sometimes God takes us out of the game to give us rest and time to heal.
How do we get spiritual fervor back when we’ve lost it? Prayer. Faith. Godly living. Time with God and His word. Readiness and willingness to be used according to His power and enablement, and by His direction.
What about you? What’s the reading on your Spiritual Fervor meter? High? Low? Or somewhere in between? Is your heart for Christian service hot or cold? And if you’ve been sidelined, what do you need to do to get back in the game? What do you possess that God can use? Take the admonition in Romans 12:11 to heart. “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
For more on this topic, check out this article: Your Labor for the Lord Matters
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.