Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Are you passionately devoted to God?


Zealous. There's a word you don't often hear much anymore. It's one of those old English words that nobody uses anymore, except maybe a preacher on a Sunday morning. The essence of this word is great, and those who are rich in Christ are zealous people.

The word zeal is defined as fervent or enthusiastic devotion, often extreme or fanatical in nature, as to a religious movement, political cause, ideal, or aspiration. So, if you are zealous, you are full of, or characterized by enthusiastic devotion.

A zealous person has passion, drive, intensity, and devotion. The opposite of a zealous person is someone who is characterized by apathy or indifference. They don't really give a rip!

Biblical Examples

There are several Biblical examples of people who were considered zealous for the Lord.
  • Phinehas, grandson of Aaron: In Numbers 25, we read the story of some of the Israelite men who engaged in sin with Moabite women. God told Moses to take the leaders of these rebellious men and kill them. One of these men, was flagrantly disobedient and openly rebellious before all of Israel. When Aaron's grandson Phinehas (son of Eleazar) observed this, he immediately grabbed a spear and drove it through this Israelite man and Moabite woman. God praised Phinehas for his zeal in honoring God in this manner. He rewarded Phinehas for his wholehearted devotion to God through a covenant of lasting priesthood.
  • Elijah: In 1 Kings 19, we read the prophet Elijah's story of how he fled from the presence of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel after his great victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Elijah flees to the desert, now in fear for his life. God speaks to Elijah about why he has run away. Elijah makes his defense by reminding the Lord of his zealousness for Him.
  • Baruch, son of Zabbai: In Nehemiah 3:20, we read a very short account about an Israelite who helped repair the wall of Jerusalem after the 70-year exile. The Bible names this one man in a long list of other men as one who "zealously repaired another section." Baruch was given special mention because of his passionate work in repairing the wall.
  • God Himself: In Ezekiel 39:25, we read that God told the prophet Ezekiel that He would bring Israel out of their captivity. One of the reasons for this is that God is zealous for His holy name.
  • The Apostle Paul: In a couple of Scripture passages (Acts 22:3 and Galatians 1:14), Paul talks about his misplaced zeal as a Pharisee in persecuting the early church before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. After his conversion, Paul used his passionate devotion for God to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the Roman Empire.
  • Israelites: In Romans 10:2, Paul speaks of the Israelites' zealousness for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Paul can testify to this fact because of his own misplaced zeal as mentioned in the previous point.
Here are a couple of Scripture passages on general counsel regarding zeal for the Lord.
  • In Proverbs 23:17, King Solomon gives wise counsel for us to not envy sinners, but for us to be zealous for God.
  • In Galatians 4:17-18, Paul reminds the church at Galatia, that "It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you." Paul tells this church that it is a good thing to be continually zealous for God's purposes.

Christians who are in rich in Christ are zealous. They have a passion for pursuing what God has called them to do in this life. They desire to win for the growth of God's Kingdom here on earth.

Where are you at, today? Are you devoted more to your own selfish desires here on earth? Are you more concerned with what you can get over what you can give?
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done" (Matthew 16:24-25).
Life is short. Eternity is forever. God wants your undivided, enthusiastic devotion for His Kingdom. Go out and live a zealous life for God, today!

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