This is the second part of the five-part series I wrote for HopeStreamRadio. (I’ve adapted it slightly for my blog.)
These traits are named in Romans 9:10-11 (ESV).
We are to …
- Outdo one another in showing honor
- Not be slothful in zeal
- Be fervent in spirit
- Serve the Lord
Outdo One Another
I’ve often challenged others—and myself—to put into practice this mark of a true believer. We are to outdo one another in showing honour. Can you imagine how great it would be if we did this in our homes, our workplaces, and our churches?
Our natural inclination is to “look out for #1,” as the old saying goes. But we are not #1. The Lord Jesus Christ is to be our First Love as it says in the book of Revelation. Plus, we are “in humility [to] count others more significant than [ourselves],” as it says in Philippians 2:3.
This doesn’t mean the Lord loves others more than He loves us. It simply means we are to make it a point of showing others how much He loves them.
Don’t Be Slothful
Next, the Christian is not [to] be slothful in zeal. We don’t use the word slothful anymore, but I think it’s incredibly descriptive—even more so than “lazy,” a word we’re more familiar with. Have you ever watched a sloth move? If not, be prepared to wait a very long time. Sloths don’t move very quickly. In fact, they hardly move at all … at least not the ones I’ve seen.
Zeal is also a word we don’t hear very often. Google says “zeal” means “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.” And what better cause than to share the message of the gospel with others? Wow! That gets me thinking. Would that I have great energy and enthusiasm to do so in the days ahead.
Be Fervent in Spirit
This list includes several words we don’t often use. “Fervent” is another. It goes right along with zeal. Google says it means “having or displaying a passionate intensity.” A passionate intensity! Do I have that for sharing the gospel? Too often the answer is no.
I allow myself to get too busy doing other things. I forget that making Jesus known should be part of everything I do and say. I have recently made two additions to my daily To Do List. First, I want to seek to spur others on toward love and good deeds, as it says in Hebrews 10:24 in the New International Version of the Bible. This verse stood out to me several years ago when I was preparing to speak to a ladies’ group. The second thing I’ve added to my list is to share my faith deliberately every day. I don’t always succeed in accomplishing these two tasks, but seeing them on my list each day is a good reminder.
If we refuse to be slothful in zeal and become fervent in spirit, we will show our love for both God and those whose lives intersect our own.
Serve the Lord
The next mark of a true Christian can be fulfilled in many ways. We are to serve the Lord.
Let’s first consider why we would serve Him and then we can consider how we can do just that.
First, we must acknowledge that God is our Master. Many of us don’t live in countries where people are considered masters and servants or slaves, but we have an idea of what that looked like in days gone by—and what it looks like in some places to this day.
While it is true that God is not cruel and uncaring, the way we imagine many masters, we still don’t want to think of ourselves as anyone’s servant, not even His. We must humble ourselves before the Lord and acknowledge that He has every right to our service 24/7.
Instead of seeking to serve Him out of fear, we must do so as a result of our love for Him. And we love Him because He first loved us, as it says in 1 John 4:19.
And how can we serve the Lord? I have often quoted Colossians 3:17, which says, “Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.” That which we can do in Jesus’ name and that which exemplifies our love for Him and for others can be considered an act of service.
You can read Part 1 here.