CLCSB 2022 Fasting & Prayer Devotion
Day 6: Transformation in Action
There’s only 2 days left in our time of fasting and prayer. Don’t give up. You’ve come too far to turn back now. And in just a short while, we will all cross the finish line of this journey together. By now, we hope that you are seeing a significant positive difference in your walk with the Lord.
As we near the final verses of Romans 12, we take today’s devotion from verses 11-13. These few verses are packed with several exhortations that read like a lightning round of Christian disciplines. The Apostle Paul dishes out these commands with rapid fire skill and challenges us to transition our renewed thinking into purposeful action.
This is the subsequent goal of having a transformed life with a renewed mind. We want our lives to outwardly exemplify the Christlike nature we’ve been given as born again believers in Christ. A transformed life results in a new nature. And a new nature means a new way of living. These new traits become so ingrained in us that we almost do it without thinking twice about it.
As Paul lists these spiritual principles, we should take careful inventory as to whether or not our lives demonstrate these qualities. Let’s take a look at how this passage reads from the New King James Version.
Romans 12:11-13 NKJV
11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
When we think about the work of transformation and mind renewal, we, of course, think of the work God is doing to revitalize our inner being. But in these few verses, Paul shifts gears a bit to encourage believers to begin outwardly expressing God’s transformation process in various ways.
The first directive we see in this passage is for us not to lag in diligence. Decades ago, there were many teachings being offered from pulpits all throughout the church about being diligent. People seemed to jump on board with the realization that spiritual concepts mean very little unless there is action to bring them into fruition.
Today, however, we hardly hear any teaching at all on the importance of diligence. Being diligent simply means to work tirelessly and with noteworthy vigor to complete a task. It is commonly characterized by taking prompt initiative and having energetic motivation that needs little to no direction from others.
Paul couples the attribute of diligence with being fervent in spirit. To be fervent in spirit means to be enthusiastic. These instructions paired together propose a dynamic mindset that leads us to accomplishing what God is calling us to do with great passion and zeal. People can easily see that the task we are performing is not being done out of duty or obligation. It is being done out of a heightening desire to see a goal accomplished.
It can be presumed that such energetic and motivated effort is fueled by a positive mental and spiritual attitude. This might be why Paul follows these two directives with rejoicing in hope.
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” It’s nearly impossible to finish a task when we feel hopeless. A diligent mind will always have a difficult time trying to overcome a hopeless heart. So, Paul emphasizes that we are to rejoice in hope. We are to remember that Christ is in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). And as long as we have Christ in us, we have hope.
Hope provides inner strength, especially when our spirits are not feeling particularly fervent. Whether we do so in song, declaration, or just in our memory, we need to find a way to rejuvenate hope when our spirits become heavy.
Such hope helps to spur us on to an attitude of being patient in tribulation. Hope gives us a fresh new outlook on life when trouble comes our way. The enemy loves to cause discouragement in the hearts of God’s people. He knows that the power of God in us is greater than his. So, his aim is to cause us to give up and defeat ourselves with negative thinking and a self-defeating attitude.
This is one of the reasons why Paul in Ephesians 5:19 prompts us to “speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”. As we encourage ourselves and each other in the Lord, much like King David in 1 Samuel 30, we begin to stir up a fervency in our souls that lifts the spirit of heaviness and inspires us to forge ahead, even in the face of tribulation.
Paul resumes his instructional outpouring directing us to continue steadfastly in prayer. In Luke 18:1, Jesus encourages His followers to always pray and not faint. Long after we have completed our 7-day commitment to fast and pray, we must remember to continue earnestly in times of prayer and personal devotion to the Lord.
Prayer helps us to stay connected to God and to draw closer to Him. Through prayer we see positive change in our lives and in our world. When we ask the Lord for anything in prayer believing according to His Word, His promise to us is that we will have what we ask for.
Paul concludes this brief passage with teaching us to focus on the needs of others, inviting them into our lives with hospitality. This means offering others a heartfelt welcome into our world with a gracious compassion to serve their needs. Such grace is greatly needed in our world today. Many people are suffering from loss, anxiety, fear, and confusion and need a warm reception when they encounter us.
Paul provides quite a list for us to work through in such a short passage. And of course, as mentioned in our previous devotions, performing these disciplines takes a transformed life and a renewed mind along with humility and servitude.
We’re at the home stretch of this time of fasting and prayer. Be encouraged today to be diligent, fervent in spirit, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer, and ready to give to the needs of your fellow brothers and sister in Christ with the warmth of genuine hospitality.
Day 6 Fasting Item: Video Games & TV
Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
“Fearfully” doesn’t imply that others should be afraid of us. Instead, the Hebrew word, in this passage, is “yare.” This means we have been crafted with great respect, honor, and reverence. The Hebrew word “wonderfully” is “pala.” This means we have been created in a distinct, marvelous way that is distinguished and set apart from others. So not only did God, in the process of creating us, do so with careful intention, but He also did so in a way that would cause us to be set apart from others. Isn’t that interesting? Especially considering that “being different” is often frowned upon in our society today. So many of us feel as though we need to blend in with the rest of the world. But this revelation—that we were uniquely created—is what propelled David to praise God! Write your reflections.