“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” – Romans 12:11 (NIV)
Maintaining consistency with anything in life is difficult. It takes tremendous amounts of willpower and dedication. Encouragement often sets in and it’s easy to get discouraged or even give up. Christians, however, have an unlimited source of strength when weakness starts to take control. Through prayer and supplication, zeal and spiritual fervor can overcome anything.
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”(ESV)
“Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;”(KJV)
“Be diligent and do not be lazy; be enthusiastic in spirit; be working for your Lord.”(Aramaic Bible in plain English)
Meaning of the verse
There are many ways in which we can lose our zeal for the Lord.
One way this can occur is when we began to suffer boredom through the repetition of church services, Sunday school, spreading the gospel and other activities. Things can begin to feel routine.
Another way we can lose our enthusiasm for the Lord is when we have setbacks in life. Even though we know that life is a series of ups and downs, during those down periods when we face struggles, hardships or loss, we might begin to think that the Lord has forsaken us – and then we lose faith or stop seeking Him.
But God is ever present and never forgets or forsakes us.
This verse reminds us of the need to recognize when our passion or devotion for the Lord begins to wane. And when it does – we need to double our efforts to rejuvenate and re-energize ourselves. We need to remind ourselves of the goodness of the Lord and His promises to us – everlasting life, peace, and happiness. That alone should be enough to rekindle our fervor and dedication to God.
God does not want those who lack enthusiasm of spirit.
“I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to vomit you out of My mouth!”
– Revelation 3:15
God has no use for those whose zeal is neither hot nor cold. He will vomit (spit) those lacking zeal out of His mouth. We are either with God all the way or He is without us.
Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might, for in Sheol, where you are going, there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.
– Ecclesiastes 9:10
We can either work as zealously for God now, or wind up in hell, where we will find nothing but suffering.