What Does it Mean to be Zealous?

Zeal is a strange word. Many people don’t know what it means. As a matter of fact, until I actually started reading the Bible, I didn’t really know what zeal meant. So in this post, it is my sole goal to reveal what does it mean to be zealous. I believe this will bless you and will prove useful to you in your life. Therefore, continue reading this post so you can enjoy the benefits of this newfound understanding.

What Does It Mean to be Zealous?

Y’all must first understand the definition of zeal. I talk from the perspective of a Christian as there is no more important form of zeal than the zeal a Christian ought to have. Zeal is what makes a person enthusiastic/excited for the Lord. It describes the picture of a Christian who is motivated to seek God and to love Him with all their heart.

It’s the part of you which refuses to compromise your God-given morals/convictions. It’s the part of you which wants to walk and commune with God all the days of your life as His loyal child. Let me give some examples to clarify what I mean.

First, let’s look at the example of Lord Jesus flipping tables because it’s most commonly talked-about example whenever the topic of zeal comes up in sermons.

John 2:15-17 (World English Bible)
15 He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money and overthrew their tables. 16 To those who sold the doves, he said, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will eat me up.”Psalm 69:9

To give some context, the pharisees (religious leaders of the time) were selling animals in God’s temple when they should have been ministering to the people. They thought to themselves, “it won’t matter much if we just pocket some money selling sacrifices to the people.” This error showcased their disrespect for the sacred; their sacrilegious behaviour disgusted God to the core.

Hence why Lord Jesus openly showed His anger at what they had done. Now, there’s something interesting which Holy Spirit included when writing this passage. He quotes Psalm 69:9.

Lord Jesus Christ is my God! Now the Question is Who’s Yours?

Psalm 69:9 (WEB)
For the zeal of your house consumes me.
    The reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.

The Bible says that those who reproach God reproach the speaker. What this teaches us is that zeal comes when you understand that the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, that God, is YOUR God!

And by being your God, He is the reason why you’re here. You answer to no one but Him. It is to the name of your dear Lord and Saviour alone, Jesus Christ, that you bow your knee.

So, whoever disrespects your God, disrespects you because you belong to Him. A small-scale example which I may include is when I was trying out a popular TV show a few weeks ago. It seemed very interesting and had quite a good storyline. But, it then had a scene where it openly disrespected my God, and blasphemed the name of Lord Jesus Christ. It was at that point, I turned it off and decided to never let myself be entertained by it again.

Now, zeal is by nature, an authentic expression of love towards God. You don’t fake it until you make it. Zeal is supposed to be genuine, it’s supposed to be authentic, it can’t be faked. If it’s faked to please others, then, it’s not really zeal, it’s deception.

The Danger of Being Lukewarm

Furthermore, Lord Jesus gave us a warning in the last book fo the Bible concerning the lack of zeal in the Church.

Revelation 3:15-19 (WEB)
15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;’ and don’t know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent.

As it reads above, He says to not be lukewarm. Being lukewarm means you couldn’t care less about your relationship with God. It’s the type of person who’d let an insult to God slide. Now, don’t get me wrong, this person might not necessarily be bad.

Instead, this person might be a good person who’s zealous for others, who is zealous for human rights, the environment, and so many other important things. And as a human being, I do understand how many well-meaning people are trapped by complacency and lukewarmness.

The reason behind this is we take very few things for granted. We don’t take human rights for granted since we know the price paid for our freedoms and privileges, by soldiers. We don’t take the environment for granted because we’re scared of natural disasters and how they may worsen if we waste natural resources.

But, the odd thing is that we take God, the most wonderful, lovely, important person in the world, for granted. And we’ve got no excuse for this crime.

There would be no freedom, there would be no environment, there would be nothing without God. We’d be doomed to eternal suffering (Hell) if it were not for the grace, love, and sacrifice at the cross of Lord Jesus Christ.

And yet, we as a generation, have become prone to skipping Church, cancelling Bible-reading plans, and turning our precious Lord’s name into a cuss word. Lukewarmness is ugly and it’s disgusting and it happens when we become so comfortable with living our lives without God that we forget Him.

Therefore, my friends, don’t become complacent. Don’t forget the heavy price your loving God paid for you. Let there be no hint of lukewarmness and instead, set yourself ablaze with passion for the things of God.

If you know you’re lacking zeal for God, here’s what you should do. First, ask Holy Spirit to give you zeal for Him. He’ll put that desire in your heart through His Holy Spirit. Then, start reading the Bible consistently and regularly worship the Lord.

Jeremiah 29:13 (WEB)
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Furthermore, this ain’t an easter bunny egg hunt. You can’t call quits after spending a day seeking the Lord. You’ve got to seek the Lord with all your heart. This means it’s got to be a lifestyle. How that looks with regards to prayer, Bible-reading, and worship is between you and God. What matters is that you’re consistent and that you are putting in an effort to commune with Him. Zeal is the by-product of your relationship with God!

By Andre Wijesekera

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