“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” — Romans 12:11 (ESV)
Be Fervent in Spirit
God shares with us, His disciples, an important command in Romans 12:11 (ESV). Scripture says, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” Do you ever feel slothful in zeal? Here, Paul is talking about feeling sluggish in your relationship with God. He’s describing a feeling of laziness, a lack of desire. Do you ever feel like your spirit is anything but fervent? The word “fervent” here is better translated as “boiling over.” Do you ever feel like your spirit is more like stagnant water? Let’s look today at how we as followers of God can stir up our affections for the Lord. Let’s make space for God to put fire under any area of our spiritual life that feels stagnant that it might boil over in Him.
Foundational to understanding Romans 12:11 is the knowledge that God will never ask you to do something or be something without His help. You are never alone in your spiritual growth. Your job is simply to create space in your heart for God to mold and shape you. Your job is to engage with Him and let the Spirit teach, lead and fill you. Your Heavenly Father is near to you. He has a perfect plan to guide you into spiritual growth and fervor. So, in light of that understanding, how can you engage with God and allow Him to mold and shape you into a person of greater fervor and zeal?
Psalm 19:7 (ESV) says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” And Psalm 19:8 (ESV) says, “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.” Scripture makes clear that to be zealous and fervent in your service to God, you must spend time allowing His Word to inflame your spiritual fire. Spending time reading about the depths of God’s love for His people, the length He will go for you as His child, and the example of lives empowered by the Spirit will assuredly fill you with passion and zeal. When you spend time in God’s Word, you are not only reading incredible stories, but hearing the voice of your living and active Heavenly Father. Spend time with His Word, allowing the voice of God to direct your soul to finding its rest and passion in Him.
When you spend time with God, you will naturally be filled with a desire and passion to serve Him. Reflect for a moment on how different you feel when you are inflamed with passion in comparison to feeling slothful. You have the power to choose how you will live life every day. You have the choice to engage with God, read His Word, spend time in His presence, and allow Him to mold and shape you. You also have the power to live a passionless life. The choice is yours. But know God is faithful to fill you with His Spirit every day if you will make space for Him to do so. He has total grace for the times you feel sluggish; at the same time He has a perfect plan to lead you out of that state into being “fervent in spirit.”
Engage with God today in prayer. Meditate on His Word. Let Him fill you with the power and anointing of His Holy Spirit.
— Craig Denison, First 15
For more information on First15 or to subscribe to get First15 in your inbox daily, visit first15.org/subscribe.
If you would like to submit a reader devotional, please email all submissions to