Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘PASSION AND ZEAL’ Category


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– “So then, because you are lukewarm – and neither cold nor hot – I will spit you out of My mouth.” – Revelation 3:16

– Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin.  They just want to be saved from the penalty of their sin. – Francis Chan

Don’t we all like to have our food reasonably hot or cold?  It just seems to enhance its overall flavor.  It brings out the taste of any seasoning better.  Much more so than if such foods were left out on an open table or kitchen countertop somewhere.  There, hot foods slowly cool off, and cold foods slowly warm up to room temperature.  They become lukewarm.

If we try tasting them in such a state, it is often quite unpleasant to our taste buds.  They would send us a warning sign something wasn’t quite right.  We would spit these foods out.  Hot or cold foods may have been sitting out for so long, dangerous and unseen bacteria such as salmonella start multiplying.  Food poisoning might result if we were to digest them.

The word lukewarm has many “not-so-positive” meanings – such as tepid, indifferent, perfunctory, non-committal, apathetic, and lacking conviction. Food fits the first definition – but not really the rest. Those apply more to emotional and spiritual feelings of being lukewarm.  We have all probably heard of someone getting a lukewarm reception; perhaps even receiving one ourselves.

It’s a half-hearted response.  Half-hearted means lacking interest or spirit.  This is not how we are to love the Lord as Christians (Deuteronomy 6:5).  God did not put His whole Spirit into us when we were born again of such (John 3:5), so we would live a life honoring Him with half a heart.  If we do, the rest of our heart has to be somewhere else (1 Corinthians 10:21, Colossians 3:2).

Any lack of passion as Christians can lead to passivity and apathy.  Any lack of commitment can lead to becoming comfortable and complacent.  Any lack of true worship from the heart (John 4;23-24) can lead to wrong works full of confusion, envying, and strife (James 3:16).  Any lack of interest or spirit can lead to indifference and insensitivity (Matthew 24:12). This can develop dull ears (Hebrews 5:11).

Lack of devotion leads to deviance from heaven’s straight path (Matthew 7:14).  Making us targets for the devil’s fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16) and devices; increasing our ignorance of his subtle lies the less devoted we are (Genesis 3:3-4, John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 2:11).  Remaining as novices – lifted in pride like this – and likely candidates to be taken captive at will (1 Timothy 3:6-7, 2 Timothy 2:26).

Any lack of the steadfast, moving forward daily faith God requires us to have unto the end for salvation (Hebrews 3:14) – leads to spiritual stagnation.  It’s a sense of feeling stuck in one place.  Air and water in such states quickly develop impurities from lack of movement.  They become very unhealthy to breath or drink.  Faith poisoning can result from any heart like this.  Bitterness can take root (Hebrews 12:15).

Salmonella can form on food sitting around too long. Sitting around too long as Christians can create problems for our salvation.  God requires us to move as we’re led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1).  Samuel was of no use to God when he started sitting around mourning over Saul.  God told him to get up and go – there were things still to do (1 Samuel 16:1).

Being in any of the lukewarm states of being above, such as apathy, makes it very easy for backsliding to be birthed among believers who may be stagnating, straying, or stumbling (Hosea 11:7).  This backsliding can feel perpetual (Jeremiah 8:5).  It stems from still being filled with some of our worldly ways – and not all of the Word’s (Proverbs 14:14).  It’s hard to climb heaven’s staircase this way (2 Peter 1:3-11).

All in all, it makes for a lackadaisical, lounging around and lukewarm walk with God for any Christian like this.  Some seemingly unconcerned about a salvation they feel is secure (Philippians 3:12-14).  This is the devil’s deception.  Satan wants people to believe they’ve already received a promise we’re all to wait with patience until the end for (John 3:17, Hebrews 10:35-36, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 12:9).

This is a very flippant approach to faith.  It is foolishly being nonchalant about salvation – a hope we all have not seen yet (Romans 8:24-25).  It all fits the definition of a “devil-may-care” attitude towards God. Not really hot or cold – people professing faith just kind of lukewarmly hanging around waiting for Jesus to return.  However, maybe wondering if this will really happen at all (2 Peter 3:4).

God didn’t hang Christ on the Cross for us to be like this.  Much has been given to us – much is required (Luke 12:45-48).  Just as food sitting around too long in the same place can become lukewarm, so can a faith sitting around in the same place too long.  With lukewarm food, we can just spit it out of our mouth onto a plate.  If our faith should continue this way too long, God could spit us out into the pit forever.

Read Full Post »


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in the city at the feet of Gamaliel. Taught according to the strictest manner of our father’s law – and was zealous towards God, as you all are to this day. – Acts 22:3

– But the zeal with which you play … relies on where you draw the line. – Jason Mraz

Adolf Hitler certainly had belief in a higher being. There are several historical records and writings supporting his claim to be some sort of Christian. Whatever this meant to Hitler, his zeal towards God in such a manner led to his developing a zero tolerance for the Jewish people and their ways. Because of this, he persecuted an estimated six million of them unto death in concentration camps.

The apostle Paul had zeal towards God, too.  Except he was born a Jew as Saul in the city of Tarsus – and taught according to the perfect manner of Jewish law (lead verse).  Paul developed a zero tolerance towards the new Christians of his day – persecuting them this way unto their deaths (Acts 22:4).  Wasting God’s church – more exceedingly zealous of earthly traditions than eternal truths (Galatians 1:13-14).

Two men of the human race – killing scores of other members of the human race; all because of zeal. All because both felt they were doing the right thing for God (Proverbs 14:12).  One wrote a terrible chapter in human history.  The other wrote nearly half of the New Testament.  If both men had zeal towards God – what was the difference between good and bad zeal? The answer is God Himself.

The One who is always the difference between wrong or right zeal, and whether ours is directed towards earthly or eternal things (Luke 12:33-34, Colossians 3:2).  Hitler steadfastly stuck with his worldly zeal to pursue and promote a political plan of his own mind and creation.  To chart his own course against the Jews, using our Creator as a covering for evil (1 Peter 2:16).  The results were tragic.

Conversely, Saul was struck down by God on the road to Damascus.  The Lord chose Saul to be a Christian that day … and made him the apostle Paul (Acts 22:5-9,16).  So God could then correct and redirect his zeal from the inside out, and set it in the right direction towards the Word – and His will (Acts 22:14).  So Paul could help others turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6).  The results were truth.

This is not intended by any means to compare Hitler with Paul.  It is meant to make us attuned to the many dangers of becoming overzealous in anything we do throughout life … this includes Christianity. Being so can warp our judgement.  Too much wayward zeal can lead to us developing a near zero tolerance of certain people groups, religions, or general lifestyles (Matthew 23:13).

Having such a strict heart or mind like this leaves little space to extend any grace or mercy to others. Any religious rigidness does not permit much room to show or grow in either (James 2:13, 2 Peter 3:18). Having a zeal for the Lord does not mean we can deem and decide everything we do in His name as being right in our eyes – if they are still wrong in His (1 Kings 14:8, 1 Chronicles 13:4, Proverbs 20:6).

However, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said “We have guided missiles and misguided men.”  Misguided men and women of God, mixed in with any type of overzealous mindset, can quickly go astray from His way.  They can teach or preach much misinformation when presenting God’s Word. Any pastor leading a church in such a way – can end up offending many of its members along the way (2 Corinthians 6:3).

Zeal is not wrong by itself.  It means great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective. Some synonyms of zeal are fervor, passion, and devotion – all admirable attributes for any Christian.  However, outward zeal can conceal many misguided intentions in the heart.  God will not be fooled (1 Chronicles 28:9, Hebrews 4:12-13) … but it can take years for other people to find out they’ve been taken.

Sadly, to their graves at times.  Our human history gives us many tragic examples of what can happen when religious zeal runs rampant.  Under the cover of such zeal, Magellan’s thirst for personal glory finally led him fatally astray.  Then there were self-proclaimed godly men such as Jim Jones and David Koresh, who guided a total of 992 people to their deaths – all because of misguided zeal.

Elisabeth Elliot once penned these words: “It takes a while for revelry to turn to reverence, and much repetition of truth to eventually turn young zeal into habitual channels for good.”  Paul echoed this when he wrote, “It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing (Galatians 4:18).  So, where does zeal cross the line from good to bad, and can it be prevented?

Out of control children and cars can cause a lot of damage.  Both have lost their steering mechanism. Kids are operating independently of a parent; cars are operating independently from a driver.  Out of control Christians or churches can behave the same way. Too much zeal of this nature can be a strong indicator someone besides God is at the wheel (Psalm 48:14, Isaiah 30:21, Micah 7:5).

Without such courses being corrected within us from above – the path to eternal damnation is still being paved before us.  This is where repentance enter the picture.  God’s goodness leads to it (Romans 2:4).  As many as He loves, He rebukes and chastens.  We all are to be zealous about repenting (Revelation 3:19). We are to be happy about correction  (Job 5:17) – but it might be painful at times.

No life change is easy.  It tends to upset “the way it has always been done” mindset.  If we still like any of our old worldly ways, repenting will not seem joyous. We will not likely see it as a sign of God’s love – but of His somehow messing with us again without rhyme or reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  However, divine discipline will happen.  It will hurt – but it’s meant to get us to heaven (Hebrews 12:5-14).

This keeps our zeal on the right course.  It is a contained flame of faith focused on our rewards up above (Colossians 3:2).  The wrong zeal is an out-of-control wildfire usually focused on the fleeting and passing (but often fun) things down here below (Matthew 6:19-20).  Wavering zeal crosses the line back and forth between the two.  It can become a type of spiritual tightrope walk (1 Corinthians 10:21)

Without daily and focused zeal regarding repentance (2 Corinthians 4:16), we’re in great danger of falling away.  This is serious.  It is impossible to be renewed again to repentance (Hebrews 6:4-6).  A sure sign of misguided zeal is being more passionate about participating in Christian activities; repeating certain traditions and customs – than repenting according to truth (Mark 7:7, 2 Timothy 2:25).

Zealously crossing items off our Christian “to do” list is not repentance,  It all means nothing without the pure, fervent, and unfeigned love we are to learn if we are born-again believers (1 Corinthians 13:1, 1 Peter 1:22).  We will all be justified of our sins and saved – only by God’s grace and steadfast faith in Christ until the end (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 3:24, Titus 3:7, Hebrews 3:14, 1 Peter 1:13).

The Pharisees tried justifying their words and works before men (Luke 16:15); despite having hearts that were still dirty – and in desperate need of cleansing from the inside out.  Jesus called them all hypocrites (Matthew 23:25-26).  Although they might have appeared outwardly zealous to others by honoring God with their lips and labor – their hearts were far from Him (Mark 7:6).

We can become the same if we are not fully committed to repentance.  This is all part of proper zeal.  If we should discover inner change is too difficult because of our Father’s sometimes painful and persistent correction, we can become zealous for Him in every area except repentance.  We can go about establishing our own righteousness without it, a misguided mistake made by Israel (Romans 10:1-3).

They certainly had a zeal of God – but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2).  They sought salvation by works of righteousness – but not by faith and repentance (Acts 17:30, Romans 9:31, Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5).  They did not submit themselves to God’s righteousness.  This means Christ is the end of the law unto all who believes by faith unto the end (Romans 10:3-4, Hebrews 12:2, Hebrews 3:14).

Our hope and promise of eternal life through Christ was given because of God’s zeal towards us from the start (Isaiah 9:7, Titus 1:2).  Our Father’s truth set up an eternal throne in heaven to establish justice and judgement through Jesus forever (Isaiah 9:7, Luke 1:31-33).  Christ became the final offering for sin (Hebrews 10:14), so justification can only come through the Cross (John 14:6).

Self-justification wreaks havoc with repentance. Without us having a good conscience towards the latter, faith can shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:19).  If the focus of our zeal is zeroed in on external Christian activities – but not inner change – danger is on the doorstep.  We can be easily putting ourselves back on the broad way heading straight to eternal destruction and darkness (Matthew 7:13, Matthew 8:12).

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: