Monday, August 6, 2007

Keeping in Shape Spiritually

One of the core ideas of evangelical Christianity is that you don't have to "work" to be saved. Salvation is a free gift, given to all those who believe in Jesus Christ. But just as being alive is better then being dead, being spiritually "on fire" is better then just being "saved." There are many ideas out there on what constitutes being on fire. I'm not sure how to define it, but I certainly know what it is to feel it - and not to feel it. Recently I was reminded of a principle that is found in this verse:

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." - Romans 12:11

I think that is ironic that so many of us (including myself) are praying for zeal, waiting for zeal, and seeking it in spiritual experiences when the key to getting it is action - serving God. What exactly is serving God? I think of two components - obedience and ministry. When I was a teenager I took karate. Karate is a demanding art, you need to be in great shape to do well and it helped me to be in the best shape of my life. By constantly being in shape and feeling the good effects of exercise, I felt more and more "zealous" about karate. I think that it's kind of the same thing with spiritual fervor. Being involved in ministry and using our gifts to serve God produces zeal - we can't help but get excited about it. Just like exercise produces a natural physical high, so ministering according to one's gifts produce a natural spiritual high. This realization hit me again as I realized that in all of my busyness I've been neglecting my ministry muscles quite a bit - and am feeling the effects of it. It's time to start working out again!

(By the way, just as you can under-use physical/spiritual muscles, you can overuse them as well. Some people may actually need to rest or cut back on their ministry before they burn out. I have been there as well.)

May Light increase!

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