I find it interesting that in our world people can be passionate about many things except Jesus. When they are zealous for God, they are labeled with derogatory labels like “Jesus Freak” Holy Roller” and “Bible Thumpers.”
Our culture applauds people for being zealous for the environment, world peace, and political parties. But they treat religious fervor with suspicion. Could this be indicative that they, not us, have their priorities out of line?
In Numbers chapter 25, I found an interesting verse that I want to share with you.
11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest has turned my anger away from the Israelites by being as zealous among them as I was. So I stopped destroying all Israel as I had intended to do in my zealous anger. 12 Now tell him that I am making my special covenant of peace with him. 13 In this covenant, I give him and his descendants a permanent right to the priesthood, for in his zeal for me, his God, he purified the people of Israel, making them right with me.”
Notice that it says that God’s anger was turned away from the nation of Israel because of this man being zealous. So what does it mean to be zealous for God?
What Does It Mean To Be Zealous For God?
The Hebrew word for zealous is Qana’ It means to envy, be jealous, be envious, be zealous. In this context, it says that Phinehas showed the same heart towards God as God showed towards His people.
If you think about that for a moment, then you can see that being zealous for God is being like God. It means to have the same passion, desire, and purpose in your life that God has towards you and His people.
How much does God love you? How much does He want to spend time with you? How much is He jealous when your affections are turned away from Him?
How Do You Fan The Flames Of Zealousness In Your Life?
It starts with a choice. However, it does not stay with just willpower. You choose to allow God to change your heart into His heart. As you do that, then His passions and desires replace your passions and desires.
Now do not be surprised that when you start to do this that you get resistance from friends and family members. When you bring a grand and glorious abandon to your dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be thought by many of your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family members to be mad, to have “gone too far” in religion. Do not despair.
There is a second part of being zealous for God that will happen as well. Being zealous for God is contagious. There will be those that will see your heart for the Lord and will want what you have. They will see that the utter abandon that you have given to Jesus is worth all the price in the world. They will be like the man who found the pearl of great price.
44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46 When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!
The Results Of Being Zealous For God
History is filled with men and women who were called mad by the world because of their zeal for God. Hudson Taylor, David Livingstone, William Carey, William Seymour, General William Booth, Aimee Semple McPherson, and many others.
All of these people were accused of being mad and ridiculed for their passion for Jesus. However who were the mad ones?
These people gave up the smugness and ease of contemporary life to give themselves to something more significant. By doing so, they ended up reaching millions of people with their zeal.
Who had a more satisfying life? Are not the same ones who are trying to keep you from being zealous for God the same ones that are complacent, smug, and self-centered? Are they not the ones that are so self-focused that they have become tired of life and even tire of themselves?
Is that the type of people we want to listen to? Are they not in reality, the “mad” ones?