Links Daily Devotional

Fervor in Our Faith

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

Many golfers are hobbyists. They’re not in it for the competition, but they love the game. In fact, it is often the most relaxed golfers whose joy is greatest. And they’re happy to tell others that there’s always room for more. Come on out and play!

I’ve seen plenty of competitive golfers burn out on the game. I don’t see this happening with hobbyists.

In the midst of several paragraphs of wonderfully practical and challenging instruction to the Romans, Paul planted the words in today’s verse, words that encourage us toward excitement about our faith.

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that excitement must precede engagement. Why would I do something I wasn’t already thrilled about? Yet it is not this way in the beginning. First, you make an effort at golf. Then you find out if you love it. And from there, the pleasure and the involvement feed off one another. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you’re heading out to play because you actually enjoy it!

Paul understood this synergy. Odd as it seems, sometimes we just don’t feel up to doing even the things we know are great. For these times, he wrote, “Keep up your fervor.” The instruction is similar to what the mentor wrote to the protégé in Paul’s second letter to Timothy: “Fan into flame the gift of God.”

Does this seem trumped up, a false enthusiasm? Not when we recognize the outcome.

If I am committed to my spouse, I do what I can to stir the passion between us. I may not always feel up to it, but I go back to those things that I know keep us close. I do it for my wife’s sake, for the relationship’s sake, for my sake—because I know how much joy comes when the heart’s fires are warmed.

So it is with my relationship with Jesus. Some days make the effort to drag me down, to tell me it’s not worth it, to convince me that it’s getting old. In these times, I need to remember the joy of the Lord. I need to recognize that in serving him, I gain so much. So I return to the “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. [I] sing and make music in [my heart]” (Ephesians 5:19). These are actions that fan the flame in my life, that rekindle my love for Jesus.

What gets your spiritual blood pumping? A walk in the woods, an evening dishing meals at the Rescue Mission, a morning in uninterrupted prayer, a focused study on the words of one Scripture passage? Find the firestarter in your spiritual life, and return to it again and again.

Jeff Hopper

May 31, 2012

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