“Be fervent in Spirit.”
We’re on command #7 in Paul’s list from Romans 12:9-21 on “The Marks of a True Christian.” Today we’re looking at what it means to be fervent in spirit (lower case “s”).
Jason and I really like to camp. My favorite part of camping is the campfire. It’s beautiful. It’s mesmerizing, really. I could stare at it all night. Sometimes we do. Sometimes we just sit there and watch the flames. We’ve sat and watched it die out and turn to red hot embers that smoke well into the night.
Campfires can be a very interesting place for a husband and wife to work on their communication skills. For us, it’s an opportunity to step back and respect our different campfire methodologies. For example, Jason likes to take time to “build it right.” He carefully places all of the logs, he uses just the right amount of kindling, and only uses a very small amount of newspaper. He wants the fire to build slowly and not create a lot of smoke.
Yours truly, on the other hand, is all about using the entire phonebook to get that baby raging! I’ll throw newspaper into every nook and cranny and then light that sucker as low as I can in as many places as I can. I’ll create huge flames with tons of smoke with the hopes that the wood will begin to burn and start a good fire.
Two totally different methods. Two similar results. In the end, whether I’ve made the fire or whether Jason’s made the fire—there’s a fire.
Here, in verse 11, fervent means “to boil with heat, be hot.”
In the campfire making business, you may use different methods. Do you carefully and thoughtfully build your foundation with the intention of creating true fire, not just a ton of smoke? Or do you impatiently use anything to get the fire blazing, therefore creating a ton of smoke?
Sometimes when I build the fire this way, it blazes hot for a minute or two and then dies right back out. Sometimes it’s not enough to get the logs actually burning. Sometimes when Jason tries to carefully build the fire it takes three times as long to get it going. It seems like the lack of newspaper makes it really difficult to get the logs to catch on fire.
It seems like there are a million different ways to make a campfire.
Being fervent for Jesus can be sort of like a campfire. My walk, initially, was characterized by big blazes and lots of newspaper. At times the fire would dwindle completely down and a new phonebook would be required. Jason’s walk has been more slow and steady wins the race. At times it seemed like his fire would never really get blazing.
We’ve both taken two completely different methods, and arrived at the realization that really, it’s all about Jesus. When you are seeking JESUS with all your heart, soul mind, strength, when you are putting JESUS before all else, when you are learning about JESUS, falling in love with JESUS, and submitting alone to JESUS, the fire just sort of works…and lasts…and is beautiful.
There’s not a method, a ten step plan, or a forty day retreat that can make you fervent in spirit like just knowing Jesus.
(Regarding “campfire methodology”—these goofballs seem to claim how to make a fire—cheese aside, they may know what they’re talking about. I know some of you out there are experts—pray tell your secrets, O Masters of the Fire!)