Romans 12:10, 11 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;

In the midst of this powerful admonition from the Holy Spirit is this little phrase, “fervent in spirit”. It’s a short phrase but powerful! Here’s a look at it in some other translations:

  • Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion.” [Good News Bible]
  • Never let your zeal flag, maintain the spiritual glow,…” [Moffatt’s Translation]
  • “… serve the Lord enthusiastically.” [New Living Translation]

I’m kind of partial to the last one. I like the word ‘enthusiastically’. I’ve heard people say that the ‘thu’ in the middle of this word refers to God. A stroll online to the Merriam Webster Dictionary more than confirmed what I’d heard.

Enthusiasm: belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit; religious fanaticism; strong excitement of feeling; something inspiring zeal or fervor.

Origin of enthusiasm: Greek entheos – inspired; from en- + theos – god.

So, the ‘thu’ in the middle originated from THEOS, the Greek word for God! What really blew me away was that first definition: “belief in special revelations of the Holy Spirit.” Enthusiasm is truly a Godly concept! A.W. Tozer is quoted as saying, “God dwells in a state of perpetual of enthusiasm.”

Here are some comments from commentaries on “fervent in spirit”:

KJV Bible Commentary – This expression means to be boiling or bubbling up or aflame with the Spirit of God. Not only must we serve the Lord as a slave would serve his master, but we must do so in an energetic and enthusiastic manner.

Expositor’s Bible Commentary – “After converts have experienced the initial glow and ardor of Christian life there is often a danger of their slipping back into a deadening spiritual inertia. To counter this, the apostle urges diligent endeavor fed by fervency of spirit. In brief, the thrust here is that the Lord’s service calls for our best.”

In Colossians 3:23, 24 it says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Verse 23 reads this way in the Good News Bible – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for human beings.”

Enthusiastic people put their heart into whatever they do. Godly enthusiasm is a bubbling or boiling up that begins at the heart level. But it doesn’t stay there. Like an erupting volcano it flows up and out, affecting everything around it. Enthusiasm begins within but it shows on the outside. If anyone is truly enthusiastic, everyone around them knows it!

Enthusiasm is also contagious. If you hang around enthusiastic people you might just catch some. Unfortunately some people seem to think that their role in life is to deplete any enthusiasts of their enthusiasm. There’s an old expression, “Misery loves company.” These enthusiasm robbers have the attitude, “I have no passion in my life so why should you have any in yours.” If you plan to be an enthusiastic person you’ll need to limit the time you spend around such passion thieves.

On the other hand, when you find someone who sows enthusiasm wherever they go, find reasons to be around them. My wife’s enthusiasm rubs off on me all the time. Dr. Lemon and Marybelle regularly inject Godly passion in us and the church. I also garner enthusiasm from meeting weekly with my brothers who pastor other churches around us. It’s difficult to stay sluggish or apathetic around people who live excited Christian lives.

It all begins with a choice. Choose not to be sluggish, apathetic or depressed. Send those feelings packing! Choose to be fervent in spirit, with a heart full of devotion, maintaining a spiritual flow. You can do it!