INTENSITY by Travis Evans
November 8, 2006, 9:20 am
Filed under: Leadership

By Walt Alexander
After concentrating last week on servanthood, the most important aspect of spiritual leadership, we will now move on to various other aspects of spiritual leadership.


What comes to your mind first when you hear the word intensity?
Do you imagine Todd Moles sucking down a Red Bull and screaming random, incoherent phrases/sentences?
Do you think of Jonathan Oldacre salivating over a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, wondering whether he can one before Melanie (his “weight watcher”) returns to her seat?

For anyone that knows me, I am anything but intense. I slide through most days in a daze of apathy and lukewarmness. However, as men (and women), we are called to be intense about the things of God and the realities of the gospel. Let’s look at what the Bible tells us:

Revelation 3:16 warns us: “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

Romans 12:11 commands us: “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit.”

The people Christ was addressing in the first verse thought they were burning for the Lord. They thought they were hot. They had prospered and had need of nothing (Rev. 3:17) – so they thought. Yet they were actually lukewarm. They thought they were one thing but they were revealed to be quite different, kind of like the little man who thinks he’s a big man. They did not burn for the Lord. Christ threatened to spit them out of his mouth. He threatened to kick them out of his house – the kingdom. They would not enter heaven lukewarm.

When I hear the word lukewarm, I think of hour-old, dirty, misty, nearly cold and far from hot bath water. Who wants that? Is this what we give God? Distracted, short, unattentive, affectionless devotion. Is this you?

In Romans 12:11, Paul commands us not to be slothful in zeal. Zeal is simply “fervor for a person, cause, or object” ( This means our joy should not fall off. We should “be fervent in spirit.” We should not lazy in our passion for God. Our passion for the great cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ should always increase. We should be men marked by increasing zeal and love and intensity for our Savior. And this zeal should move us to do great things for the kingdom of God. This zeal should be seen in our eyes when we talk of the things of God. It should be seen in the way we attack our days. It should be seen in the way we spend our money. It should be seen in the way we spend our time. Check out this quote by John Piper in “The Marks of a Spiritual Leader”:

Spiritual leaders must go out alone somewhere and ponder what unutterable and stupendous things they know about God. If their life is one extended yawn they are simply blind. Leaders must give evidence that the things of the Spirit are intensely real. They cannot do that unless they are intense themselves.

Where are you? Is your life one extended yawn? Are you lukewarm? Are you fervent in the spirit, growing in zeal?

H ow can you grow in intensity? I would love to know what has served you this area of cultivating intensity.


5 Comments so far
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The things that motivate me the most for intensity are the incredible spiritual leaders we have, and the joy i see them walk through life with. Bill Kittrell, Howard Varnadoe, Matthew Lindsey, CJ Mahaney, John Piper, Mike Plewniak, Bruce Landis, Craig Cooper, etc.etc.etc.

I thank God for them soooo sooo much. That kind of leadership is new and incredible to me!

That’s what I want to be like.

Comment by joshcan

You have really spoken to me today. We went over that very verse last night in the men’s Bible study that I am involved in last night. I have been very fervent in trying to show someone my commitedness (sp?), without trying to scare them.

My service to my church has been a little slack, but I have tried very hard to touch others away from my church. I try to follow where I feel I am being led. Sometimes I am wrong, but I know that as I mature in my faith, my failures will decrease. It hasn’t reduced my fervency for the Lord or His kingdom. The biggest problem I have is always having an answer in and out of season.

Let’s all throw another log on the fire within that the Lord has given us.


Comment by Fritz

For me, reading Christian biography is like squirting lighter fluid on an open fire! I find the same is also true when I read through the book of Acts, or an account of Church history. But there is nothing like getting to convey the gospel to someone that ignites in us a passion to live for Jesus. I am aware that when I evangelize, I interact with the Holy Spirit in a unique way, a way that excites an intensity of faith in me. Mack Styles in his book “Speaking of Jesus” tells his readers that if they want a vibrant[lively] faith, then share it.

Comment by Travis

great sharing Walt! I would have to agree with joshcan on this one. I get so encouraged and that zeal for God is kicked wide open into affect when I see the leaders around me kicking it into high gear and having a passion for God! You guys keep up kicking and I’ll be kicking behind you! I also love when I read a piece of scripture that totally speaks to me, that shoots my intensity level up a couple gears for God. As a new Christian, I want to have such a zeal for God!

Comment by mini mike

thin ice Walt…thin ice. We all know a fat Walt lurks beneath the hippie facade my friend.

Comment by Jonathan Oldacre

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