Message summary: Given the temptation of spiritual boredom we all need to regularly heed Paul’s words to Timothy “to fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6).
John Wesley has a famous description concerning his conversion, “I felt my heart strangely warmed.” The challenge is keeping that warm heart through life as we invariably encounter circumstances that seek to make our hearts cold! Boredom can be a strategy of Satan.
Each of the three phrases in this verse is rich in meaning but today let us consider just the second phrase, “fervent in spirit”. The underlying Greek word for “fervent” is “zeo”, which means, “to be hot.” The English word zeal is derived from this word.
This word zeo is used to describe the preaching of Apollos in Acts 18:25 who “spoke with great fervor”. This word suggests having plenty of heat to produce adequate, productive energy, but not so much heat that one goes out of control. The idea is not of being overheated to the point of boiling over and out of control but, like a steam engine, of having sufficient heat to produce the energy necessary to get the work done.
The challenge in the spiritual life is to maintain this fervency in spirit throughout life. Another version states, “Keep your spiritual fervor”. I think all of us have to fight the tendency for our spiritual fervor to wane. The need for maintaining this fervor in our walk with God is of paramount importance. Jesus, in describing the last days stated, “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12).
Given the temptation of spiritual boredom we all need to regularly heed Paul’s words to Timothy “to fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6). The Greek word translated “fan into flame” signifies the recovering of fire choked with ashes or decaying. It’s kind of like stirring up a campfire early in the morning.
Let us conclude with a list of suggestions on maintaining your spiritual fervor:
- Bible reading, study and application (obedience)
- Being in service for Christ.
- Faithful attendance in a Bible-faithful, God-fearing local church.
- Associating with those who have spiritual fervor since it is contagious.
- Listening to godly music, reading good books, etc. and abstaining from all which leads us astray.
- Lastly, but not of least importance, we should be contributing generously to the cause of Christ, since “where our heart is, there our treasure is also”.
That once burned bright and clean
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, during times of peace, prosperity and easy going we acknowledge the tendency to be spiritually bored. Help us to stir up the fire of Your Holy Spirit in our lives through faithful reading and application of the Scriptures. Though there are daily temptations, disappointments, and experiences that could easily extinguish the fire of Your Spirit in our lives, we thank You that Your abiding presence in our hearts is greater than the foe that seeks to deter us. May we always be attentive to Your still small voice and the convicting power of Your Holy Spirit so that we keep our spiritual fervor in serving You all the days of our lives. Through Christ we pray. Amen.