But Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
What excites you? What fires you up? There will be as many answers to that question this morning as there are people reading these words. Indeed more than the number of people because we will all have a multitude of such things, or at least I hope we have, for there is so much to be excited about even in a broken and frightening world.
Select any one of the things that you have thought of and ask yourself how easily you get excited by it. Perhaps it was one of the Six Nations Matches with your face painted with the Welsh Flag or wearing a Daffodil hat! It is amazing the lengths to which some will go in their zeal and enthusiasm, and providing it does not get taken too far that is a good thing for it is enthusiasts that brighten our lives and give momentum to any movement.
Paul writing to the Church in Rome encourages their enthusiasm ‘never be lacking in zeal’ or perhaps another way of thinking about this challenge would be ‘don’t give up’. The ESV has ‘don’t be slothful; in zeal’ and surely our understanding of the gospel and what it has done for us should make us enthusiasts for its message, and even more so when the world is in chaos.
But there is also a challenge here that our zeal, our fervour, need to be correctly focussed for it is possible to be ever so zealous, ever so enthusiastic while losing sight of what our enthusiasm and zeal are based on. So Paul urges his readers ‘keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord’
Let us take these words to heart this morning and indeed every day ensuring that we are walking close to the Lord, reading and letting his Word infuse all of our being and meditating on the incredible position we are in as forgiven sinners in Christ. When we do this we shall be like Peter and John before the Council in Acts 4.20 ‘We cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard’
That is zeal, that is spiritual fervour and they wanted everyone to know the Good News.
Let’s pray for one another today that nothing will blunt our zeal and fervour as we seek to point others to Jesus.