On the Obligations to Fervour of Spirit
Romans 12:11
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

1. Fervour of spirit is, in general, opposed to lukewarmness and indifference. It denotes an uncommon application of mind, and a warmth of zeal bordering on transport, that moves every faculty of the soul, and carries all before it in the pursuit of what we highly value and desire. It does not consist merely in a few emotions of natural piety, neither is it a sudden blaze of religious fervour, which flashes for a moment like a meteor and as quickly disappears. It is a permanent and abiding principle of action, a beam from the Sun of Righteousness, which, bright at the outset, shineth more and more, till it reaches the fulness of its meridian splendour.

2. When this is displayed in its fullest extent, it is one of the noblest ornaments of the Christian. It is to the spiritual life what health is to the natural. It renders that active and spirited which, without it, were dull and almost lifeless.

3. As to our obligations to be fervent, note that —

I. IT IS ENJOINED BY GOD'S POSITIVE COMMAND. The Scriptures abound in exhortations not merely to serve the Lord, but to do so with fervency and zeal, to work while it is day, for the night cometh, when no man can work. Many are the precepts which require us to be up and doing, to be zealous in good works, etc. There is nothing so offensive to God as lukewarmness and indifference.

II. GOD HAS A JUST RIGHT TO IT. He gave us our being at the first; by His providence our lives are daily sustained. Is it possible to render unto God more than His goodness gives Him a right to claim? All this, however, is but a small part of the obligation which His mercy has laid you under. Think only on the wonders of redeeming love. Can you, then, exceed in gratitude to such a Friend, and serve Him with too much zeal?

III. THE DIFFICULTIES CONNECTED WITH THE SERVICE OF GOD REQUIRE IT. Religion is not a matter of easy acquirement. The enemies we have to encounter are numerous and powerful, and, through them, we must fight our way to the ground which shall be our reward. Within, our hearts are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; then we have depraved appetites to restrain, and passions fed by indulgence to subdue. Has any of you made the attempt, and do you find it an easy matter? Besides, all who would love God and Christ Jesus must expect to meet with persecution. Amid so many perils, what need is there of fervour! Amid such obstacles, what but a zeal that knows no bounds would enable us to resist and overcome the enemies of our salvation!

IV. LET THE EXAMPLE OF THE SAINTS ANIMATE YOU TO CULTIVATE IT. What was the distinguishing characteristic of Abraham, of Elijah, of Samuel, of Daniel, and of the others? It was zeal for the Lord, manifesting itself by obedience, holy, fervid, and strenuous exertion to promote the glory of God. In none, however, did this spirit more immediately display itself than in our blessed Lord and Saviour. "The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up."

(G. Milligan.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

WEB: not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

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