Romans 12:11: Fervour


  • Zealous fervour
  • Spiritual fervour
  • Directed fervour


Try and read Romans 12:11 through a 21st century mindset. Think of the pluralistic political correctness that has to insist that all views are equally valid. Think of the new militant and vocal left that is deconstructing traditional Christians truths and norms. Think of the post-9/11 allergy to religious fervour. Now hear this verse, ‘Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.’ Our age cannot hear this verse without hearing an endorsement for radicalism; fundamentalism; stabbings and shootings at night clubs and concerts. This verse would be held up as one of the most wrong things you could do. This idea is violently resisted and shouted down today. Instead of laying the blame for human suffering at the foot of our own sinful hearts they blame the thing we are made for: serving God. And instead of directing their zeal into serving God’s will, they picket, blog, write articles and put pressure on politicians to enshrine and legalise autonomous human will; the right to kill myself, the right to kill a baby in my womb, the right to redefine my sex and marriage. We are witnesses to a religious zeal in society today but it is in the service of being anti-religious and for the god of self.

But there is another enemy to true religious fervour today and that is Western secularism. A lifestyle where human desire defines right and wrong, and you can do what you want. We are submerged in a fog of brain numbing conveniences and pleasures. Think of the leftist militarism and the seductive secularism as a carrot on a stick. On the one hand we are being beat upon by the stick to be pressured from our service of God by a leftist agenda, and on the other hand we are being lured by the carrot of seductive secularism from it. We are fighting on two fronts as we attempt to obey Romans 12:11.

As we look at 12:11 we can see that it has three exhortations all related to our service to God. Three aspects of how we are to serve are brought into view. Not being slothful in zeal/diligence relates to our external activity and the manner in which it is done. Being fervent in spirit relates to our internal activity and the heart with which we do our duty. And our serving of the Lord, which literally reads, ‘to the Lord, slaving,’ reminds us of the direction of our service and the attitude we are to view ourselves with. Or put another way we could say that the verse lays out the negative, the positive and the proper perspective we are to have in our service. Today we want to look at the last two aspects of our service, at our fervour and service. We have three points we want to make from these, that we are to have a zealous fervour, a spiritual fervour and a directed fervour.