Celebrated British actor William Macready (1793-1873) was approached by a clergyman. He asked, “Would you explain something to me?”
“What is it?” the actor queried, and humorously added, “I don’t know that I can explain anything to a preacher!”
The minister asked, “What is the difference between you and me? You appear before crowds night after night with fiction and the crowds come wherever you go. I’m preaching essential and unchangeable truth and I am not getting any crowd, at all.”
Macready answered, “That’s simple. The difference between us is that I present my fiction as though it were truth; you present your truth as though it were fiction. You lack fervency!”
What a sad commentary for that minister! Fervency should be one of the chief characteristics of those who claim to be spokesmen for God, but also for any follower of Christ. The apostle Paul wrote, “… be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)
The Bible touches on numerous areas in which Christians should be fervent. I will mention just a few of them. First, believers should be fervent in love; “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another.” (1 Peter 4:8a)
The believer is also to be fervent in prayer. James 5:16 says, “… pray for each other … The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
The progression is natural. When we love and care for someone, we’ll automatically want to bring their needs before the Lord in prayer.
Titus 2:14 advocates a fervent lifestyle, saying, “Jesus gave himself for us to set us free from every wrong and to cleanse us so that we could be his special people who are fervent about doing good deeds.”
Fervency should be present in our teaching. A man named Apollos was, “… fervent in his spirit as he spoke and taught diligently of the things of the Lord …” (Acts 18:25)
A passion to share the truth of the Bible is fundamental for believers in Christ. The good news is just too good to keep to ourselves.
Finally, fervency should be manifested in generosity. Paul shared in 2 Corinthians 9:2 that the Corinthian believers’ faithful and fervent giving had encouraged others to follow their example.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it’s clear that the Christian life should be lived in a passionate and fervent manner. In fact, it would not be a stretch to say that for a Christian to live in a spiritually apathetic or indifferent fashion is unacceptable.
“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be fervent about.” — Charles Kingsley
Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.
— Faith & Reflection