Monday, January 6, 2014

R1211 part 1

Romans is an incredible book of the Bible!  If you haven't read it (or read it recently), you need to and very soon!  Romans 12 is probably my favorite chapter of the book, and verses 9-21 are full of awesome and practical ways to live for the Lord.  I recently got stuck on verse 11 when it says, "Do not be slothful in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord."  So, as I often do when God teaches me something cool, I've been sharing my ponderings about this verse with my SoZo-ers.  I originally started out thinking I would teach three separate lessons, seeing as the verse is broken up into three distinct parts.  Well ... the study started the first week of December, and we haven't even gotten to "be fervent in the Spirit" yet.  Haha!  Being zealous for the Lord is loaded!  And we've been digging deep, thinking about what that means and how to BE ZEALOUS in our everyday lives.  So my R1211 posts, as I'm going to call them, are all about my ponderings about Romans 12:11.

Romans 12:11
Do not be slothful in zeal; be fervent in the Spirit; serve the Lord.

Zeal means "eager interest and enthusiasm or passionate devotion."  Pretty cool, huh?  What are you super interested in and enthusiastic about?  To what or whom are you passionately devoted?  Really ... think about it for a second.

--- I don't get to dance these days, but I'm super enthusiastic about dancing!  Ballroom and West Coast Swing dancing were so cool when I had the chance to do 'em!  I was entirely interested in learning how to dance.  I was at the dance studio every week night and most Saturdays for about a year and a half.  And when I transferred to a new studio, I was there every Tuesday night for a lesson and two Friday nights and two Sunday afternoons a month for nearly another year.  I was probably considered passionately devoted to dance.  It was so cool! ---

I want to say I'm that excited about and devoted to Jesus.  I think I can say that ... now.  This year is off to a great start!  I've been excited about the 60-day reading challenge that my church is doing.  I've been reading really great books about all kinds of ways to grow in the Lord.  I'm growing (slowly) in my prayer life.  I'm learning to be faithful and thankful.  And I've just been excited and content in the Lord lately. ... But, maybe you struggle with this too, my zeal for God comes and goes.  Blah.  I hate that, but it does.  In some seasons of life, I am super zealous.  In other seasons, often when things are "hunky dory" or I'm frustrated with God or prayer or something going on in my life at the time, not so much.  Sometimes, I am slothful in zeal. ... And I don't wanna be slothful ... ever.

Here are a few ways we can be zealous INSTEAD OF slothful ... you may need your Bible for this part! ;)
~ We need to run from being lazy in our faith (Acts 6:1-4)
~ We must stay focused ... we need to get rid of the things that distract us from Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2)
~ We must be unafraid ... let's not worry about what other people think about us or be afraid of the future or things that are unknown to us; but instead, let's do what's right and live for Jesus (Deuteronomy 31:6-8)
~ We need to get excited about what Jesus is doing in our lives and let it show (Philippians 4:4) ... Oh!  And if you don't know what Jesus is doing in your life, you need to pick up your Bible and READ IT more often!  You need to TALK TO Jesus some, yo! :)

And why is it so important to live zealous (passionately devoted) lives for the Lord?
Look up John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 to find your answer!
Even when we were totally separated from Him, even when we were His ENEMIES, Christ died for us ... so that we can have LIFE ... and live that life abundantly and zealously. :)

Stay tuned for more ponderings about ZEAL :)

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