Zeal is an interesting word. Scriptures tell us that zeal for God’s house consumed Jesus (Psalm 69:8-9; John 2:17). We see it played out when Jesus tossed the merchants and money changers out of the temple (John 2:13-17). In doing so, I believe Jesus set an example as to how we should react to things that stand in contrast to God’s design. While tolerance is preached today, Jesus demonstrated none of it towards those who were blatantly ignoring and abusing God’s commands. When was the last time you were so consumed by zeal for God that you took action regardless of what people thought and without thinking of any possible ramifications?
Archives for January 2013
It’s easy to fall into a couple of traps as we endeavor to follow Jesus. One is we can get caught up in the celebrity status of certain religious leaders and determine that once we reach their standing we will do great things for God. On the other end of the spectrum is the belief that we aren’t talented enough o ever be able to make a difference in the world, so we end up leading a quiet life keeping to ourselves. Both suppose that there are different classifications of Christians, some bound for fame and glory, others doomed to obscurity and insignificance. God created each of us for a unique purpose in order that we would accomplish the work He designed us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
The older I get, the more urgently I tend to look at life. I don’t know if it’s a matter of staring down mortality or simply a maturing, but I am struck by how much more intentional I am compelled to live each day as I go through life. When I was younger, I would fill my spare time reading science fiction or watching television. Neither of these activities are a part of my life any longer. Engaging in anything that does not in some way further the mission of Christ seems entirely futile to me. The common caveat to interject here would be for me to say that this is what works for me and isn’t something that someone has to adopt for themselves to live a more Christ-like life. That may be true, but I think it’s too easy to dismiss out of hand the possibility that we all should be taking more responsibility for how we are spending the time God has entrusted to us.
I recently read of an individual who decided to move outside his comfort zone to live a life that looks like Jesus. Josh is 20 years old and had befriended an elderly homeless woman. One night she got beat up pretty badly, and Josh offered to take her to a friend’s house where she could stay for awhile. The woman wasn’t comfortable leaving her usual surroundings. So what did Josh do? He didn’t walk away thinking he had done what he could. He didn’t berate her for not accepting help. No, he decided to start sleeping on the street next to her to provide protection. What a beautiful picture of Jesus! Josh went to where the hurting person was rather than wait for them to come to him.
I touched on this a bit before (see “Take Action”), but with the New Year now underway, I think it’s important to emphasize the value of intentional living over the next twelve months. How will you be different and more like Jesus when December rolls around? What will you have done to glorify Him as you look back over this year? One thing is certain, if you don’t plan how you will get somewhere you’ve never been, you will never arrive. Spiritual growth doesn’t happen by accident. You don’t wake up one day and discover you are a disciple of Jesus. Believing in Christ is easy. Becoming the person He created you to be is difficult and requires an incredible amount of work on your part.