It’s August and it’s the season for checking. Moms and dads are checking school supply lists to see if they have the pencils and notebooks and crayons their kids need to be successful. High school students are checking their class schedules. College students are checking to see if their financial aid package has come through. Teachers and school staff are checking, too, everything from what students are in what class to whether or not the buses have had their oil changed. As school begins there’s a lot of checking to do.
The same at church. Do we have enough people for Kids Life on Wednesday night? What about menus for suppers? Changes for Sunday School? What will the schedule for the teens be? Worship on Wednesday or worship on Sunday night? There’s lots of checking to do.
And you have some checking to do to. There is a verse in Romans 12 which is part of a checklist of things we as believers need to makes sure we are paying attention to. The list checks off things like making sure your love is real and sincere, that you are faithful in your prayers, and that you share with people who are in need. In the middle of that list is this item, “Keep your spiritual fervor.”
Fervor. Is it out of fashion? Is fervor something we have only during the early days of our faith and then as “maturity” settles in we too settle in to a more plodding, less passionate kind of relationship with Jesus? Not according to the Bible. We are to keep (that’s a command and that means we are to put effort into this) our spiritual fervor. The sentence could be translated as “keep your spirit hot.” Or consider this. The word fervor in the original language has strong connections with the idea of boiling. Think of the heat and activity of boiling water. Keep your spirit at the boiling point. Long ago I mentioned this in a message and a few days later a songwriting member of the congregation surprised me with a new song he called “212 Degrees.”
Keep your spirit at the 212 degrees. Be on fire for Jesus. Put it on our list of things to do.
So how? Start with recognizing that your spirit has maybe grown a little cold. Admit to yourself that you have been distracted by other things. Then do what the song from the old Sing and Celebrate songbook says. Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace. They will. I promise. Just start looking fully and constantly at Jesus. That’s the hard trick. Start your morning with him. Keep your thoughts on Jesus. Go through every moment of the day endeavoring to live in a continual conversation with Jesus. It will be hard, challenging work but you will be rewarded in so many ways.