I found some old notes from a book I read a few years back and it got me thinking about passion and zeal. Take a look and let me know what you think…how’s your zeal lately?
In “Never Beyond Hope” by J.I. Packer, there is a chapter about Nehemiah and the zeal he had for God. Nehemiah’s name means the comfort or encouragement from God, so his very name is an ordained mission statement for his life. The people of Israel had broken covenant with God and God was going to use Nehemiah to “encourage” them back into the fold, which he does very zealously! Packer makes a point of Nehemiah being in essence, the second founder of Israel, with Moses being the first. Both leaders had zeal for their calling but also for the people they were chosen to lead.
This chapter really hit me hard and convicted me to some well-needed repentance. As I thought about my own zeal God showed me the picture of a dimmer switch. All too often there’s waning going on, a strobe light effect of inconsistency that leaves me falling short of Paul’s admonishment in Romans 12:11, “Never be lacking in zeal.” The Father showed me how it was turned up nice and bright for special areas of my life that I was already pumped about. However for connections that I had no desire to pursue, the zeal level wasn’t as intense. My hand on the dimmer switch dictated the power flow and that was not a “bright” idea on my part.
I was reminded of the true power source of my “dimmer switch”, the love affair I have with Jesus. How the passion for Him is the electricity that juices my life. How the Holy Spirit current flows through our spiritual veins, lighting us up with zeal to follow the Jesus with all we have. The Greek word for zeal means “to boil” and what better to have boiling inside then a love relationship with Jesus.
That burning, that passion; comes from a daily connection with a living passionate God. We can work it up in our strength for a while but it soon wanes and goes dim. When our covenant relationship with Him drives us and consumes us, it produces a zeal that is enduring. As we throw caution and appearance on the crucible of His love, we can burn with true zeal for His kingdom rule in our lives. Our prayers become infused with passion, walls are rebuilt, and the way of the Lord is renewed daily in our lives. Purpose is revealed, direction shown and like with Nehemiah, authority given to accomplish the will of God in our lives. Our covenant relationship with God is our zeal producing power source.
“Command Aaron and his sons, saying, this is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out. Leviticus 6:9-13