Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Real Zeal"

Isaiah 42.13 NIV

“The Lord will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.”


How does “a mighty warrior... stir up his zeal”? Does he pour a package of dried zeal in a pot, add boiling water, stir vigorously, and drink it hot? It’s not that easy to be a zealot. A warrior may be muscular, confident, strong, quick, tenacious, and capable. But he must also be zealous. A mighty warrior must get fired up and enthusiastic about his mission or he’ll never win a battle.

How does a person “stir up his zeal”? Is it a matter of concentration and mind over matter? Or, does a guy have to pray hard and fast often? Does he psyche himself up with battle mantras like “Charge!” or “Geronimo!” or “Go Get ‘Em!”? Marching music and the rhythm of drums, mental pep talks, motivational speakers in automobile CD players, rock n’ roll music? All of this may inspire zeal temporarily, but true zeal is more than what I generate from within myself. Whatever excitement I can produce doesn’t last long. I get mentally pumped up after attending a stimulating conference but within a week, the entire event fades to a foggy recollection of a nice time.  

I need a certain level of passion for my activities in life, otherwise they become routine and I get bored. I am an ambassador of Christ. He commands me to “let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5.16 NET). I must maintain a positive outlook and show a little enthusiasm for the things I do so others will be attracted to the Source of my inspiration.

Paul commanded his young disciple Timothy “to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you” (2nd Timothy 1.6 NIV) and he reminded his followers in Corinth, “your zeal hath stirred up very many” (2nd Corinthians 9.2 ASV). Obviously, zeal is contagious. So is apathy. A lethargic, indifferent, or lackluster attitude will turn anyone off to whatever I offer. That’s why zeal is so crucial.
“Jesus, I do not know how to ‘stir up my zeal’ but I must learn. Others are counting on me. My light is shining but it’s a little dim. I need more spiritual wattage for a brighter bulb. I can’t fake it. I need some real zeal. Pour it in so I’ll have something to stir up.”

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