“Don’t Give Up!” Has anyone ever encouraged you this way in a fitness course? For this week’s Monday Minute, Jennifer shares how God encourages us to keep going in our spiritual fitness!
Don’t Give Up
by Jennifer Wake
“Don’t give up Jennifer. You can do it. Just one more…”
Fitness coaches encourage us with these statements. Don’t you just love the way they count…one more is never just one, it is always at least five if not ten. But they motivate us to get stronger, better, healthier.
My last Monday Minute blog post focused on loving one another based on Romans 12:9-13.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”
Romans 12:9-13 ESV
I tried to avoid the part that said should be ‘be fervent in spirit,’ but God had other plans. Just as fitness coaches motivate us to do better physically, this text is God’s way of motivating us to do better spiritually. Fervent in spirit means to burn with a heart full of devotion to God.
Be Fervent in Spirit
As I start 2020, I am convicted to be fervent in spirit. This means I need to set some goals, both spiritually and physically, and get working. Now as a “seasoned” woman (read that as mature….) I have more peace and quiet than when my kids were little. So there goes one of my excuses for why I don’t spend time with God. I can sit and read in the morning.
But what to read? What does the term “Quiet Time” mean? When I was a young Christian everyone around me would ask, “How is your quiet time?” So I looked it up in the Bible, but I could not find it anywhere. How do you do a “quiet time”? Let’s be honest, every person’s time with God will be different.
The key is consistency; Keep Going!
My best “quiet times” consist of four parts. I start with prayer. It is a time of praying over my prayer list. You know…family, friends, etc. Second I read the Bible. Sometimes it is a chapter. If it is super convicting it may only be five verses like Romans 12:9-13. Third, I write down the part of the passage that spoke to me (or the five verses that stopped me). If I have time, I will research those verses. Finally, I write down my thoughts and maybe a prayer using the verses.
When my kids were little, I started with prayer. Then I usually read a devotion that had a Scripture passage in it. Then more prayer time. My younger kids needed way more prayers to survive my lack of patience. As they grew, my time with God grew as well.
Don’t give up if your Quiet Time is only five minutes or ten. Even if you miss a day, don’t give up, just restart the next day. Don’t give up. Keep going.
I have lots of excuses to avoid time with God.
Sometimes they are good things, like meeting for coffee with a friend in need of encouragement. Others are not so good. Watching the morning news to stay informed about current world events is one of my favorite excuses.
“Don’t give in to watching TV or playing games. Get going Jennifer.” I need that sign so that in the morning I will spend time with God rather than TV or games.
The statement, “You can do it,” fights laziness. I love researching Scripture and studying because I feel so full afterward. Yet I will avoid it, just like I do working out, because I am lazy. Laziness is part of my makeup. I am lazy but I want to become like Apollos.
“He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.”
Acts 18:25 ESV
I want to be fervent in spirit like Apollos. I want to speak and teach accurately which means I must study zealously. When I read the Bible if something strikes my heart I need to pursue it and learn about it rather than being lazy.
Read: James 5:16-20
Reflect: What do these verses tell us to do? What part of a Quiet Time has the most power?
Respond: Is there anyone in your life who needs you to pray for their salvation? Write down their names and specific requests.
Lord, show me how to be fervent in spirit, to serve you, to rejoice in hope. Teach me to be patient in tribulation and constant in prayer. Allow me to contribute to the needs of the saints and to show hospitality to all. Amen.
1 Peter 4:8 Another word translation of fervent is earnest.
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