not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; Romans 12:11-12 (NKJV)
While we are familiar with the importance of loving the Lord our God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength, we often that love for the Lord leads to action. If truly love the Lord then I will live differently because of that love. My love for the Lord will always motivate me to be active in serving Him. There are many different ways we can serve the Lord.
We can serve the Lord through sharing the Gospel.
We can serve the Lord by using our spiritual gifts.
We can serve the Lord through our giving.
We can serve the Lord through our faithfulness to church.
We can serve the Lord by helping those in need.
We can serve the Lord by doing our best on our jobs.
There are many, many ways that we can serve the Lord. This passage doesn’t really deal with the different ways to serve the Lord. Instead, we are told how we will serve the Lord when we are serving Him in love.
Serve the Lord with diligence. The first thing we are told is that when we serve the Lord we are not to be lagging in diligence. The word lagging refers to laziness. It means to be lazy, slow moving, sluggish, lethargic and complacent. Instead of being lazy in our service to the Lord, we are to be diligent in our service to the Lord.
For several years I read through the book of Proverbs every month. One of the things I noticed the first time I read through it was that it spoke harshly about laziness. It also gave several characteristics of laziness. According to Proverbs one of the characteristics of laziness is making excuses for not doing your work. There are two particular passages that are fairly humorous that describe the excuse making of laziness.
“The lazy man says, ‘There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!’” Proverbs 22:13 (NKJV)
“The lazy man says, ‘There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!’” Proverbs 26:13 (NKJV)
From reading the Old Testament it does seem that possibly some lions lived in Israel during this time. Despite this, being eaten by a lion wasn’t an every day event. Even though the danger of being eaten by a lion was remote, this is the danger the lazy person chose to highlight. I think the main point of this is that the lazy person will latch on to any excuse he can in order to get out of doing something he doesn’t want to do. We may laugh at the silliness of this excuse, but are our excuses much better?
Some of us always have excuses as to why we cannot be fully committed to Christ in our lives. There is always some reason why we cannot be active and faithful in our service to Christ. We have good intentions, but we never follow through with them. If we’re not careful, we will let good intentions be a substitute for actions. Eventually we look back over several years and realize that we haven’t actually done anything in service to Christ. All we’ve done is make plans and we never followed through with them. This happens because we are lagging in diligence. Our love for the Lord should lead us to serve the Lord with diligence.
Serve the Lord with enthusiasm. We are told to be fervent in spirit serving the Lord. If you notice, the “s” in spirit is not capitalized. This means that it refers to our spirit and not the Holy Spirit. This means that we are to be excited and enthusiastic in our service to Christ. “The believer must have a holy zeal for Christ. He must be aflame in his service for Christ.
I think if we were to be honest about what we read in Scripture, we would admit that the overwhelming example we see in Scripture is that believers should be excited and enthusiastic about serving the Lord. The Psalmist said he was glad when it was said to him, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1) There should be a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm in our worship and service of the Lord. Yet in our day, it seems acceptable to be excited and enthusiastic about anything EXCEPT in our worship and service to the Lord. It is sad that many believers get more excited about football games, TV show and movies than they do about opportunities to worship and serve the Lord.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3 (NKJV)
Surely we have to recognize that something is wrong when our worship and service to the Lord is more of a burden than a blessing. I’m not saying we won’t go through times where it’s a struggle to serve the Lord. What I’m saying is that when it is more normal for our worship and service to the Lord to be burden than it is to be a blessing, something is wrong with our spiritual lives. Something is wrong in our relationship with the Lord.
What does it say about us as individual believers when our every act of service and devotion to the Lord is a burden that must be born? What would it say about our marriages if everything we did for one another was burden that must be born? Wouldn’t that attitude demonstrate that something was wrong in our marriage? Wouldn’t we do what needed to in order fix it? If you are not excited about opportunities to worship and serve the Lord, then you must recognize that something is wrong with your spiritual life and deal with it. Our love for the Lord should lead us to serve the Lord with enthusiasm.
 , The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible – Romans