April 2011 - Vol. 49.
Jesus, the servant-king foretold by Zechariah, rode humbly into Jerusalem on a donkey in a spirit of peace. But in cleansing the temple, he exhibited a bold and forceful zeal for his Father’s house. Jesus was moved not by a fit of temper but by righteous indignation and godly fervor.
Zeal is more than burning ardor or emotion-based enthusiasm. Rather, true zeal consists of a determined, unflagging dedication to something or to someone; a zealous spirit seeks to advance a cause, defend the truth, or render service. Godly zeal is a characteristic of great men and women of faith. David slew the Philistine aggressor, Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45-49). Deborah roused the faltering Barak into action to defeat the enemies of Israel (Judges 4:4-10). Paul first zealously persecuted those who believed in Jesus and then even more zealously proclaimed the good news of the gospel when he had become a believer (Acts 22:1-5; 2 Corinthians 11:23-27).
Just as Jesus and these heroes of the Bible spent themselves zealously for God and his service, we, too, are to be zealous for God himself, zealous for the gospel, zealous in good works, and zealous in defense of the faith.
Read and prayerfully reflect on these additional Scripture passages that describe zeal and how it is put to service for the Lord and his kingdom:
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand. . . . And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone, and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. (1 Samuel 17:45-46, 49)
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