"Boil" with the Spirit

February 22, 2024

As we continue our One Thought series through Romans 12:9-13, we come to verse 11, which says...

"Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord."

Romans 12:11 (ESV)

The Greek word the English Standard Version translates as "fervent" in the middle phrase is translated as "enthusiastic" by a few other translations. But as I dug into this Greek word (zeontes), I discovered it is often used as a metaphor. The word technically means "boiling." Just as you and I might say someone is "boiling" with anger, ancient Greeks would take that idea further and say someone could also be "boiling" with love, or sadness, or passion.

You've seen a "boiling" emotion if you've ever been around a crowd that is celebrating the last second win of their sports team, or the child who is crying because Mom walked out of the room, or the dog who is angrily barking at the end of their leash. Any emotion someone feels so strongly that they can't keep it in is said to be "boiling" with that emotion.

This means when Paul used the word zeontes, he was in a sense saying our fervent or enthusiastic spirit should be "boiling" with excitement because of God's love for us as shown through the cross and for putting His Spirit in those who follow and trust in Him. This explains the rest of the verse 11 then, why we shouldn't be "slothful" or lazy in our hearts toward God and our service of Him.

But how do you keep your passion for Christ red-hot so that it is "boiling"?

&Quot;Boil&Quot; With The Spirit • Riverwood Church

Too often, we simply ride emotions like we ride a wave. When the wave is up, we are up. And when the wave is down, we are down. But for God to tell us through Paul's word to maintain this "boiling" point means we have some level of stewardship and responsibility in continuing the excitement we had when we first put our faith in Jesus.

So if you follow Jesus and have felt your "boiling" slipping to "lukewarm," what do you need to do to help stoke the fire? Do you need to change what you listen to? Do you need to read or meditate on Scripture? Do you need to hang out with a certain friend who is passionate for Jesus? Do you need to try a different Bible translation or engage in a new study? Do you need to go on a walk or vacation that is intentionally designed to give you time with God? Or is there something else you could or should do to "not be slothful in zeal" but to be "fervent in spirit"?

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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Riverwood Church, Waverly Iowa

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