Romans 12:11 "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."
I love this verse, but have always struggled with understanding it 100%. As I am learning more about our relationship with God and the difference between being a servant and being a friend it is strangely clearer.
God first calls us servants, and although he still desires obedience out of us, he wants to be more than our master, he wants to be our friend. I like this idea of progression, and it helps me to more clearly see how I am seen by God and how all those verses of who we are fit together.
The thing that always got me hung up on Romans 12:11 was that I was seeing serving as a draining activity, not something that would increase my excitement and give me zeal. Yes, I have enjoyed doing things for God, but as we heard at church this last weekend, those activities are the fruit of our relationship with God. It is the relationship part that is exciting - but as the verse suggests, it isn't enough in and of itself to keep zeal. It is when we share that relationship with others that we are doing God's will and serving him and that excitement is what keeps the fire alive.
At least that is what I am finding for my life.
So here is my excitement that I want to share. When I got married I gained 4 brothers and 4 sisters. (that's a lot more than the one brother Jerry gained) They grew up in the church, but it was the kind all about rules. (Well actually some of them are still there) Jerry didn't understand why Jesus died until he was in his late 20's since he never saw grace demonstrated in his family. He didn't know what it was like to have relationship with God. So now he has a big heart to reach his family so they can experience God too. This week I caught some of this passion. I did not realize that they had no understanding of being in relationship with God. No conversations with him. No idea even on how to spend time with God. Wow! There are so many times when I have felt alone in my life and only had God to turn to. I couldn't imagine what it would be like not to have that. (and especially being a Christian.) I see how much they are missing out on.
Well the youngest sister, who recently turned 17, broke her ankle. I know God doesn't cause his kids harm, but oh how he makes the best of our situations. She is always so busy, and now with no school and no physical activities she is spending a lot of time with "what to do?" Like I said, she's a teenager - so she is on facebook A LOT. We had her over last week and watched a video on how much God loves us. Then she posted something that sounded like her heart was needing some care. So I spent Saturday with her. I shared some of my heart journey with her and gave her the opportunity to do the same. She said she couldn't talk about it with out crying and was not comfortable crying in front of others. She eagerly went to church with me that night and found it enjoyable as it kept her attention! So that night I emailed her and asked her about her heart and fears - making an opening for her to share without my seeing the tears. We wrote back and forth a few times, and it was through this that my eyes were opened to what she was missing out on. Both Jerry and I ministered to her, and she ate it up. We shared worship music and she loved it. Then even had her over again this week for another video on God's love. In just this week I have seen such a change in her.
She had been having trouble sleeping. Now she doesn't go to bed without spending time in the Word, and has been sleeping through the night for days in a row. God has given her an opportunity to share the gospel with a friend she has known all her life, but who hasn't know God. I love reading her posts on facebook and it just excites me with the verses and the words of encouragement and worship songs. She is so hungry for God and it is exciting to see and be part of. I can't share everything, but I know God is using us in this way, and we have been praying for that for a long time.
So this is the service that brings zeal. Keep it coming God. Let's bring more of this family to knowing you personally. Woohoo!
I'm going to leave you with a recent facebook status from my little sister:
... okay two... here is the latest "People keep asking me what made me change. The answer: I just finally decided to live for Christ instead of myself."
... and the one I was looking for:
"so, I'm bored. I have nothing to do and no one to talk to...so I thought for a split second. Then I realized, who better to hang out with than the one guy who is always with me no matter what?! I think I'm going to go spend some time with Jesus for a while. I like Him! He is definitely my FAVORITE!! =)"
Isn't that the best I'm bored response from a teenager?!
Oh, to add to my list...
8 years ago