This section of Romans 12 covers many different aspects of living in Christ. In this whole paragraph we see many exhortations to the people of Rome to stand firm and remain faithful, to live lives befitting those who call themselves Christians.
Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord. (Romans 12:11)
Here in this verse I see a call to persevere in the Lord for it is by perseverance that we will see the work of the Lord completed in us.
There are many obstacles that stand in the way and there are and will be many persecutions that will come our way as the scripture tells us. Thus the need for perseverance is even more important and so these words need to be taken to heart and to encourage us.
First we see that Paul encourages us to be zealous. We are to exhibit zealousness for the things of the Lord.
He tells us not to flag in zeal, that is, not to grow weary in our walks with the Lord but to remain strong and to keep our eyes on the Lord.
It is when we lose zeal and when we get tired that we may fall. It is when we are low in the spirit that we leave an opportunity for the devil to attack us and bring us low.
But when we are zealous for the Lord and for the things of God that we find strength and we hold fast to what is good, right and true. It is when we are zealous for the Lord that we exhibit the life of Christ within us and we stand strong and apart from the ways of the world.
When we are zealous for the Lord we draw close to Him and to God the Father and as He has promised, when we draw near to Him he will draw near to us (James 4:8).
Likewise when we are zealous for the Lord no one is able to take us from His hand for He will hold us and sustain us as we are told in this verse.
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? (1 Peter 3:13)
So let us listen to the instruction of Paul and listen to his words of instruction and hold fast to the Lord, zealous for His teachings and His ways in all we do.
Live in the Spirit
The second part of this verse in Romans 12:11 is to be fervent in the Spirit. Other translations say to be aglow with the Spirit.
We are called to the Lord to receive the Holy Spirit and to walk in the Spirit. When we learn the ways of the Spirit and learn how to walk in the Spirit at all times, we are strong, not through what we do but through the working of the spirit within us.
This is what it means to be fervent in the spirit. Paul wrote in Galatians 5 the following instructions, which I take to be one approach to being fervent in spirit.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16-17)
This is the key to change in our lives and the transformation into the image of Jesus Christ. When we are fervent in Spirit and when we walk by the spirit we “do not gratify the desires of the flesh”.
It is the desires of the flesh that lead to sinfulness. It is the desires of the flesh that stand against us and oppose the ways of the Spirit that would transform us into the image of Christ. It is when we fail to walk in the spirit that we open ourselves to fall.
Thus the reason why Paul encourages and exhorts us to be fervent in the Spirit. Like when we are zealous for the Lord, when we are fervent in the Spirit we are strong and we walk forward in the Lord.
Serve the Lord
Finally all of these things lead us to serve the Lord. We are called to serve Him and to not serve the desires of our own flesh.
How do we serve the Lord? By serving Hos people. By living lives in accordance with the will of God. By living and growing in the faith we have in Jesus Christ. By trusting Him and in Him to provide for all our needs whether physical or spiritual.
Jesus came to this earth a s a servant of the most High God. He left us an example to follow, which is to serve as He served.
Our place is not to seek our own glory but to live a life that glorifies God and His Son Jesus Christ.
In humility we serve Him and come to Him. And when we live humble lives, God comes to us and gives us the grace to be able to stand and grow as His children.
He does not give grace to the proud but to the humble and it is only through humility we can become the children of God and serve Him as He desires.
So seek Him in humility and learn from Him so that you do not flag or falter in your zeal for Him, you do live a life fervent and aglow in the Spirit and you serve the Lord in all aspects of your life.
(Image sourced from freeimages.com provided by Michal Zacharzewski)
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