FAITH & REFLECTION — One of the greatest detriments to progress in the Christian life is complacency. Complacency is a sort of smug, self-satisfied attitude that tends to decrease energy, dullen attitudes and diminish productivity. Complacency is content with things as they are, and the battle cry of the complacent is “that’s good enough.” Someone suggested that complacent people are like water and take the easiest course, which is of course downhill.
An antonym to complacency is fervency. It could be defined as possessing strength of purpose or intensity of spirit, feeling or enthusiasm. Complacency stalls movement, but fervency stimulates activity. Bible scholar J. Sidlow Baxter said, “A fervent spirit will accomplish much.” Let me tell you a story about a fervent lady who made Baxter’s adage come to life.
Haley Raissor, back in 2004, attended the movie theater to see The Passion of the Christ, and as a result, committed her life to Jesus. However, the film so impacted her that she could not sit still on the matter. With a fervent spirit, she contacted her brothers, sisters, children, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law and as many friends as she could think of. She applied some pressure by offering to pay their way and then suggesting that her relationship with them may be at risk if they didn’t comply.
Unfortunately Haley took a serious fall down some stairs in a dimly lit hallway on her way into the theater to join her family and friends. They strongly suggested that she go to the hospital but she refused. Following the movie she actively and vigorously engaged each individual by asking them whether they had committed their lives to Christ as a result of having watched the film. She fervently explained the gospel to them just in case they had missed it. Only following her one-woman evangelistic crusade did she consent to being taken to the hospital.
Arriving at the hospital, it was discovered that she had three broken ribs and other potentially serious internal injuries. In spite of this diagnosis, she obtained a day pass the following day so that she could be baptized. The pastor tried talking her out of it, but she laid a bit of a guilt trip on him by saying, “If Jesus could suffer through what He did for me, I can suffer through this for Him!” Haley was baptized.
The word for fervent in the New Testament means to have much energy, to burn, or to be boiling. Haley exhibited these definitions quite well, and while she may have been getting 49 per cent on her wisdom test, it is clear that she obtained an A+ for fervency!
“Do not lack diligence; be fervent in your spirit; serve the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)