What Does it Mean to be Fervent?

Do we have a good fervent definition? Fervor is necessary to advance the Kingdom of God and it is propelled by spirit-filled Christians that share the gospel with boldness and power. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Heather Riggleman
What Does it Mean to be Fervent?

Has anyone ever told you "I've lost my fervor." What does this even mean. Fervor, fervent ... do we have a good fervent definition that we find in the Bible? What does it mean to lose one's fervor? And once we've discovered this, how we as Christians regain our fervor? Let's dive in.

What does Fervent mean? Do We Have a Good Fervent Definition?

The Bible is full of stories that show how passion stirred to action, purpose, and calling in God’s people. Solomon had the heart to be a wise ruler. Elijah had a heart for God’s people to turn back to God. Moses had a heart for his people. Nehemiah had a heart for Jerusalem. These are simply a few examples among many. Each man had a deep fervor that burned bright for God. 

You may be wondering what fervent means, it’s rare to come across the word “fervent” in this modern world. In fact, you’re probably more familiar with the word passion. You may be passionate about Star Wars, running, the lives of your children, or perfecting your brownie recipe. The definition of fervent means: 

  • to exhibit particular enthusiasm, zeal, conviction, persistence, or belief. 
  • have or show emotional warmth, fervor, or passion. 
  • to glow, burn, or be very hot. 

And yet this is how Christ wants us to live for him. Romans 12:10-11 says, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

What Does Fervor Mean in Romans 12:11?

In this precious verse, Paul commanded Christians to outdo each other in love. Then he proceeds to tell us to keep our passion, our spiritual fervor serving God. To be fervent for God means to keep a deep, focused, passion-filled heart on God. It means to align ourselves with God. Paul ramps up the idea of enthusiasm by adding we must be fervent in spirit. 

The Greek word here is zeontes, related to the root word for “life,” the phrase can literally be translated that we must be boiling in our spirit for God. It is a clear call from Paul that we are to avoid becoming lukewarm, tepid, or bored as we pursue God. 

Fervor is necessary to advance the Kingdom of God and it is propelled by spirit-filled Christians that share the gospel with boldness and power. One of the biggest threats to God’s Kingdom is Christians losing passion and becoming lukewarm. Paul’s command to “never be lacking in zeal” also indicates that Christians can tragically become lethargic.

The enemy seeks to dim your passion, dampen your belief in God’s ability, keep you distracted and hustling for worldly things. His goal is to dull your interest in your spiritual life and his goal is to make it a slow fade, so you don’t realize you’ve lost your spiritual fervor. 

Once he’s been able to dull your senses, complacency comes into play, which dampens our love, joy, and passion. The Bible tells Christians to maintain spiritual passion no matter how long they serve Christ. It tells us to keep our experience red hot with passion. 

Keep Your Fervor by Serving the Lord

The next warning from Paul tells us that not only are we to keep our passion, but we must not grow lazy. Paul is encouraging us to be “all in” in all we do for Christ. The warning about being “slothful” makes it clear that Paul wants us to be hard workers. 

One of the clearest statements on this is what he says in 1 Corinthians 15:58. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  

Jesus speaks words of warning to those who settle in with lukewarm affections for him. Revelation 3:15-16, “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!”

The greatest commandment is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). 

And we are reminded yet again in Jeremiah 29:13-14, “You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the Lord,” because God promises to be found by us when we seek him with earnestness rather than half-heartedness. But what if you don’t feel this passion for God? Let’s take a quick inventory.

Signs You’ve Lost Your Fervor

It’s easy to make excuses for missing church. 

  • You find yourself drifting from relationships within the church. You are easily offended. 
  • You’re not that into worship. You’ve found excuses not to give. 
  • You find serving in the church to be a chore. 

Do you remember when you first experienced the presence of God? Do you remember when your heart, spirit, and mind were on fire for Christ? You couldn’t wait to share how Jesus rocked your world and gave you a new life! You had more zeal for his word and finding ways to praise him than pursuing your favorite hobbies. 

If that is gone and you’ve lost your fervor, it’s time to get on your knees and search your heart. Ask God to search your heart. Ask him to bring you to repentance and then ask him to pour his spirit into you again. Then take inventory of your giftings and calling. 

Consider the gifts God has given you and use those to advance his Kingdom. He isn’t calling you to serve the church out of duty. He wants your voice, your character, your personality. If you’re good at installing sheetrock, help the church with a remodel, or help a family in need with a home project. 

If you’re known as the baby whisperer because infants stop fussing around you, then volunteer in the nursery on Sundays. If you are gifted in teaching, then consider leading a Bible Study or serve in Sunday School. If you’re gifted at making others feel welcome, serve on the hospitality team. The point is to take inventory of your passions, how God created you, and use it to paint the world with the colors of his love. 

Conclusion of Our Fervent Definition

Just as there are no two people exactly alike, no two hearts keep the exact same rhythm. The Bible refers to the heart as the driving will or innermost being, it’s the well of our fervor and passion. Your calling and passion are shaped by your life and the experiences you’ve encountered. 

Instinctively, it seems there are some things we care deeply about and other things that don’t even turn our heads. It’s up to us to reignite the spark to our spiritual fervor. Remember to analyze the signs of the loss of fervor above. Pray that God will restore your spiritual fervor and give willingly. Often when we give of ourselves, we see a great return.

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Heather Riggleman is an award-winning journalist and a regular contributor for Crosswalk. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 22 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal,  Mama Needs a Time Out, and a contributor to several books. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.  


This article is part of our Christian Terms catalog exploring words and phrases of Christian theology and history. Here are some of our most popular articles covering Christian terms to help your journey of knowledge and faith:

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Originally published April 23, 2020.