Romans 12:11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
This morning when I was asking the Lord about today’s verse, I was reminded of some friends of ours. Their home is in the north where the winters are long and cold – like below zero. They heat it with a wood burning stove. Having a bonfire in the fireplace once a week, while nice, just doesn’t do it. They have a wood supply and habit patterns that include tending that stove so it produces heat around the clock; day after day.
If they want the house to be a comfortable temperature, they maintain the stove and all it involves. Their physical bodies are constantly aware of how well they are doing or not doing. When the temperature in the house is comfortable, their ‘bodies’ are ‘quiet’. But let the temperature drop in the house (somebody forgot to put wood in the stove) and their bodies start ‘communicating’! Can’t you just imagine being busy and all of a sudden your ‘body’ speaks up and saying, “Excuse me! We are shivering and turning blue. Put some wood on the fire!!” Ignore it some more and it says, “The pipes are going to freeze to say nothing about us!”
At this point we look at the goose bumps on our skin; notice that we are rubbing our hands trying to warm them up; the ‘rice-buddy’ around our neck isn’t keeping us warm – so we go tend the fire. Again, we don’t build a bonfire, we just add wood to the stove to produce the needed warmth. A fact of life is that our bodies are very difficult to ignore; they can get our attention.
In a similar manner, we must learn to pay attention to our spiritual condition. It, along with the Holy Spirit, will communicate that our ‘fire’ is getting low. Unfortunately, it is much easier to ignore our spirit – and the Holy Spirit – than it is a shivering physical body. Today’s verse in The Message reads, “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master.” We must train ourselves to tend to this because it is far more important than physical warmth. Tending this ‘fire’ is a daily thing – not something done once or twice a week.
We cannot be the people we must be – that He wants us to be – if we don’t. The Amplified Bible states the phrase in a wonderful way, “…be aglow and burning with the Spirit…”