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Zeal For God
by Steve Countryman
5/23/2011 / Christian Living
Zeal intense passion, fanatical, fervor, eager desire or endeavor, enthusiastic diligence. Godly zeal includes courage, boldness, fearlessness, intimacy with God, faith, trust, controlled rage, righteous indignation and jealousy. All tempered by God's wisdom, knowledge, revelation, truth, Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Zeal is not a word used much nowadays. You have seen people who had zeal or as they are called fanatics. They show them on the news. Those people who camp out for days to be first in line for a sale, to get tickets, black Friday, for a book signing, concerts or special appearances, sporting events you name it. Those who are fanatical for a movie star, rock star or sports team and have their offices, bedrooms or entire homes decorated with memorabilia and posters. Zeal for the Lord is what is obviously missing from the church and us the church body today! The world needs to see Christians who love the Lord with a zealous heart and let His love shine through them.
There are several people in the Bible that had zeal for the Lord, zeal for the honor of the God, zeal for God's righteousness, zeal for God's presence, zeal for God's promises and zeal for the kingdom of the Lord. Proverbs 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. Read Numbers 25:1-9. Numbers 25:10-13 10 The LORD said to Moses, 11 "Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites; for he was as zealous as I am for my honor among them, so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them. 12 Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. 13 He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood, because he was zealous for the honor of his God and made atonement for the Israelites." 2 Kings 10:16 Jehu said, "Come with me and see my zeal for the LORD." Then he had him ride along in his chariot. With zeal Jehu dealt with King Ahab, his wife Jezebel, his sons, his family, his servants and his friends. With zeal Jehu killed the priests of Baal and tore down their temple and destroyed their sacred stone.
Mark 12:28-31 28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Verse 30 states the definition of Godly zeal the best, love the Lord with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind and with ALL your strength. You can't get to that intimate level in your relationship with God without loving Him. You can't love God if you don't obey Him. Zeal for the Lord is a byproduct of knowing Christ intimately.
When you spend time with God and His Word daily you learn of Jesus. But the more time you spend with God the more you get to know Christ intimately, much closer than a personal friend. Thus zeal for the Lord comes the same way by obedience, loving and knowing God. The first command enables the second command to love your neighbor as yourself. Once you are get a real glimpse of how much God loves you then you are able to love God, love yourself and those around you and whom you meet. 2 Samuel 6:14-15 14 David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, 15 while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets. David loved the Lord God with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength. That is why David danced with all his might and strength before the Lord for thirty miles as David had the Ark of the Covenant brought to mount Zion. With zeal David killed Goliath. With zeal David defended "the Lord's anointed" King Saul and his family while David ran for his life for eight years from Saul.
There were those in the Bible who had misguided zeal for the Lord. Running ahead of God or leaning on your own understanding can lead to misguided zeal for the Lord. Judges 11:30-31, 34-35 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD : "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, 31 whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the LORD's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering." 34 When Jephthah returned to his home in Mizpah, who should come out to meet him but his daughter, dancing to the sound of tambourines! She was an only child. Except for her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes and cried, "Oh! My daughter! You have made me miserable and wretched, because I have made a vow to the LORD that I cannot break." Galatians 1:13-14 13For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. Before Paul's conversion Paul was full of zeal when he made it his mission to punish, imprison and even kill Christ followers, the Christians.
Zeal for the Lord changes things in your life. No longer can you remain silent about sin and injustice. No longer can you remain silent and allow the wicked to rule. No longer can you remain silent while the ungodly pass laws to restrict your freedoms and promote wicked living. No longer can you tolerate a Jezebel spirit to operate freely in your church and in its leaders. No longer will you allow false prophets and false teachers to speak in your presence. No longer can you remain silent while the wicked hold positions of authority, pastoral, teaching and ministering positions in your church. No longer can you accept any teaching that is contrary to the Word of God. No longer can you tolerate friends who openly flaunt their sinful lifestyles. No longer can you condone in silence the sinful addictions of others and call it love. No longer can you allow the sinful influences of your friends to pollute your mind and spirit. No longer can you stand to be around those who always take the Lord your God's name in vain. If you love and care about your friends, how can you remain silent and let them burn in hell? You can still love and care about them enough to share the gospel with them but maybe its time to start hanging around some good Christian friends. Iron sharpens iron when you are in good company. You are to love the sinner but hate the sin.
Most of the churches today lack the zeal for the Lord. Jesus started the church man started religion. Religion has through the years strapped the church with traditions, its own interpretation of the Bible, ceremonies and rituals. Most of them are meant to maintain a strict order throughout the service but have instead stifled the praise and worship for the Lord compared to the praise and worship in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament at the different feasts and services they celebrated their God in music, song and dance. That is a very rare sight in most churches today. It is frowned upon in most churches to celebrate the Lord during praise and worship time. No clapping of hands, no raising of the hands in a jester of surrendering to God, no shouts of joy, no dancing before the Lord, no cheerful upbeat music of any kind and no love songs to God. No wonder people complain about the dryness or the deadness of a church. Praise and worship is a form of zeal for the Lord that you get to participate in corporately but do you? "That is not allowed in my church" but should be. How is it okay for someone to yell and scream at sporting events and concerts when you get excited but you are not allowed to get excited about your God in church around other believers? "What will the outside world think of us?" That you have something so very special that it is worth shouting about! Wouldn't the world want to know more about the Jesus you serve?
Lets say that there are these two churches. One is the regular style church that is steeped in its traditions and rituals in their worship service. Then there is the other church that freely and openly worships God with singing, dancing and shouts of joy during their worship service. If you were god and had to pick just one church to attend, which one would you pick? I want to be where the spirit of the Lord is made to feel welcomed and loved. How does your church stack up?
Romans 12:11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. A commandment is a command from God not a request! Pray this prayer for the zeal of God. Dear wonderful God in heaven, Holy is your name. Your kingdom come your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive others when they sin against us. Father please help me to love you more and more everyday. Fill me with the desire, hunger and thirst for you in my life that causes me to get on my knees with you daily. Fill me with the courage and boldness of the Holy Spirit. Fill me with your righteous indignation and zeal that saturates my spirit, mind, heart and thoughts daily. Help me to get pass the rituals and traditions of man that have kept me from celebrating you and my love for you. Lead me Holy Spirit in your zeal. For you O Lord direct my path and guide my steps and I am determined with all enthusiastic diligence to obey, thank and worship you My God and my King. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
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