Romans 12:11 (NIV): “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
Great words to keep your spiritual batteries charged. Negligence in serving God diminishes spiritual fervor. Romans 12:11 should motivate us to not be caught sleeping our way into God’s Kingdom. There’s the assignment of sharing the gospel to carry out.
Anything less than God-empowered lives won’t get it done. Living the Christian life to its fullest potential requires God’s help. Christ is looking for those willing to give their all without compromise in serving him. He’s looking for those who will compassionately share the salvation message without judging unbelievers or others who don’t share their same values.
That’s not saying one should accept any and all lifestyles that God has called sin, but it’s about treating fellow human beings with respect where it’s deserved, as well as non-judgmental, unconditional love, and accepting everyone regardless of their lifestyle, politics or beliefs.
Christ is looking for those who will take an unwavering stand against evil. “Be strong in the Lord and … His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11 NIV). That challenge is severely tested as forces work to bring the Church in line with worldly values. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities; … powers; … rulers of the darkness of this world; (and) …spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).
While there’s much good in these exciting times of technological advances, and America enjoys opportunity and freedom, these are also troubled and evil times. Satan is on the attack to destroy lives; to weaken our nation through compromise of biblical moral values; to discourage those already hurting; to destroy God’s design for marriage and family; to turn hearts away from God; and to attack Christ’s church. Many people of faith who stand up for their beliefs are often said to “be on the wrong side of history” or “intolerant,” but truth be told it ultimately matters more how we’re judged by God than how world history judges us. The label “intolerant” is more applicable to those who have no room in their own hearts to express tolerance of other’s rights to express their beliefs.
Another word tossed around especially in politics is “progressive.” Much of what passes today as “progressive” is ruining our way of life and what America was founded on, and is often actually a step backwards. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34 KJV)
Christ would have his people be counted among those who keep their spiritual fervor. Spiritually born-again, Spirit-filled believers have received power as God’s spirit has come upon them. God calls his people to minister in demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s power and Christ’s love and compassion; and to confidently walk in Christ’s authority, never being intimidated or fearing anything or anyone except God. God further calls upon his people to fearlessly make known the gospel; and to refuse a weak, watered-down, compromising version of Christianity that’s no match for a harsh, lost world.
Believers must refuse to be kept down or even easily knocked down in the first place by any man or circumstance. When or if they do get knocked down, with God’s help, they must get back up again every time when possible, and be determined to make a positive difference as they travel life’s journey and boldly, unapologetically, take back the ground Satan has stolen. Satan has been working feverishly to steal America’s soul. If God’s people will awaken; repent of their own sins first; turn to God; and continue to take a strong stand against evil, our nation can be reclaimed, and God will heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
God calls upon his people to confidently but humbly, with head up and shoulders back, stand tall and walk smack into any and all situations God says to, making sure their confidence and spiritual fervor is always tempered with humility and gentleness because God gives grace to the humble. Anger, hate or confrontational words don’t win hearts or change minds. Godly love does. Believers must go forth with God’s purposes in mind, not their own personal agenda. They must move forward with God-given holy boldness tempered with kindness and love, being careful to love all those for whom Christ died for, which includes everyone. Salvation is offered to all who repent and turn to him. (John 3:16; Romans 10:13; 2 Peter 3:9)
Finally, believers must be confident that all evil obstacles must stand down, move aside, and fall before an Almighty God, and nothing evil can successfully stand in the way God sets before His people whose hearts are totally his. May Christ’s Church in 2014 lay claim to all God has called her to be.
The Rev. Jim Wheeler Sr. is an Assemblies of God Evangelist who lives in Oneonta. He is author of ‘Journeys, Generations, And Cracked Eggs’.