Let’s Work At It!

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Life goes to ruin so easily, doesn’t it?  The lawn and landscaping at my home do not take care of themselves!  Keeping it looking good demands constant attention. If I decided to just ‘let it go’ for a month or two, the weeds would take over!  Choose not to maintain your home, your car, your physical health and what happens?  There are soon large messes, major breakdowns, and chronic illness with which to deal. Little problems in life will turn into major issues of dysfunction without discipline and attention, hence the important concept of preventative maintenance. The proverb warns about apathy – “A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.” (Proverbs 24:33-34, NLT)

Do you realize that spiritual health and vitality also demands our attention and effort? There are those who assume that since our salvation comes to us a gift of God, a result of His grace, received by faith, that there is nothing left for us to do.  This ignores the invitation Jesus gives us – “Come, follow Me!”  Every day demands that we choose our priority – will I serve myself or will I choose Christ?  And there is, for a few, the danger of ‘burn out,’ a real spiritual hazard to those who fail to understand the balance of work and rest or who throw themselves into every ministry that comes down the road, working without focus.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul says “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11, NIV)  A few months ago I met a woman who is 80 whose zeal inspires me. Along with her own family, she raised several adopted children who came to here with serious emotional needs.  After that season in her life ended, she responded to the call of the Lord to serve children in need around the world and continues to enlist people in the work of a world-wide ministry that educates, feeds, and loves children. She travels, every year, to visit a developing nation to see some of the children she is supporting financially.  All the while, she visits churches tirelessly promoting the work.  Did I say she is 80?

When Paul tells us to keep our ‘spiritual fervor,’ he uses a word that means to be ‘at the boiling point.’  Christianity is not intended to be a slow walk at the fringe of life or a few poems of inspiration read in a sleepy gathering on Sunday morning! We are to be engaged with the world in which we live, passionate about one thing above all others: serving the Lord! Are you?

Let’s not make the common assumption that we are being ‘good Christians’ as long as we show up in church once a week, while make sure that we do not lie, cheat, or steal.  Churches are full of good, moral people who are asleep in the Light, who are unconcerned about the souls of those who are lost in sin’s darkness, who are basically ignorant of their true purpose, spiritual gift, or place of service in the Kingdom. There is a kind of fulfillment to be found in engagement, in knowing the approval of God.

Zeal is not to be confused with just doing something for the sake of looking busy. There are zealots who are thoughtless, careless, or even just ignorant. They create nothing but chaos with frenetic and pointless activity. We are to be people led by the Spirit, equipped uniquely to do what the Lord desires us to do, and to develop those gifts so that we fulfill our calling with excellence.

Are you drifting along on the current of life?
Have you settled for a tepid faith, one that mostly avoids the call to ‘follow Jesus’ in any costly or committed way?

Prayerfully read this word from the Word. “Fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you … God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for Christ. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the proclamation of the Good News.” (2 Timothy 1:6-8, NLT)

Zeal! Make it a word that leads you to deeper commitment, for the Lord’s sake.
________

Set Me Ablaze
(a prayer for zeal!)

Set me ablaze set me ablaze
‘Til it’s all that I know
Set me ablaze set me ablaze
So  I’ll never grow cold

Breathe come and breathe
On the coals of my heart
Let Your fire start
Breathe come and breathe
On the coals of my heart
Keep me burning
Breathe come and breathe
On the coals of my heart

Let Your fire start
Breathe come and breathe
On the coals of my heart (oh)

Set me ablaze set me ablaze
With a single obsession
Set me ablaze set me ablaze
With an endless passion

Wild fire burn brighter
Deep inside my heart
Consume me rage through me
I want all You are

Bryan Torwalt | Jacob Sooter | Katie Torwalt | Mia Fieldes

© 2015 Capitol CMG Genesis (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Capitol CMG Paragon (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Jesus Culture Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

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