Zeal for God.
My zeal for God started when I had started to believe that I could help in some areas where help was much lacking.
My first task was to let my pastor at the time know that I wanted to help, and was seeking his recommendation on a seminary to attend and somehow become equipped to help with the church.
That was the starting point of my zeal.
I went to seminary school along with my pastor’s son and studied a curriculum taught by Haitian pastors trusted by NYTS to lead the French Certificate program at the time.
For 2 years every weekend, we drove to Brooklyn, NY, and attended the day-long program at the Medgar Evers College campus.
Great time of fellowship with other zealous students. Some were pastors, some were spouses of pastors, some were children of pastors, others felt like they had a calling to become pastors. We ate together, prayed together, studied together, inspired each other. Then we graduated and moved on to whatever level such zeal would push us next. I had a bit of tears at the graduation, when I see the sea of souls who were ready as much as they had believed to be to meet life challenges to the benefit of their communities to bring glory to God. The work of God, is what we would most certainly call it.
The work of God, to many of us, was anything that we would do to the best of our ability, with our most sincere and honest capacity, with the intent of keeping our listeners engaged in what seems right and away from what see as wrong using whatever biblical inspiration seemed available at the time. So wherever we saw other leaders were failing, we vowed to do better, be stronger, do more and be more, trusting that if we had such determination, then surely, surely, surely God would be on our side. After all, we’d be working for him. How could he not appreciate our works for Him?
In all of our works, unbeknownst to us, we never acknowledged the gospel in its true and purest form. We talked about what the Spirit can do, or what He has done, but we never grasped for sure who and what the Spirit is in us. So, Jesus to all of us was a character. And we were there to promote better and advocate better whatever our existing religious leaders were trying to achieve at the time. Better administration. Better worship performance. Better sermons.
After all my hard works, long hours spent away from my wife and kids, I received the one summary: “I have no words appreciation for anybody”. I was part of “anybody”.
And of course, the reverse compliment had disappointments in the finance numbers as foundation. Not enough money, or not enough gestures of generosity, no room for appreciation.
My zeal, right there and then, started being deflated.
And when it was truly deflated, I found some solace as I started hearing a gospel ministry broadcast led by Bob Christopher. I heard the gospel for the very first time in my life. I probably heard it before but I may not have had much room or saw much need for it since I was so solid at my religious zeal. I probably dismissed it as necessary for someone who didn’t know God like I did, but not for me.
That day when my balloon of religious zeal started losing air, that was the day I was being made prepared to hear the gospel in a way I had never heard before in my entire lifetime then. The answer to things that I had struggled, like fear, guilt, shame, time after time, was right there “black on white” in the gospel and I had just skipped them believing that what I had been hearing since I became a Christian to be the meaning of what I was reading.
Then one day, a worship song led me through a one on one conversation with Christ, heart to heart. And at the end of the song, I was no longer the same man as prior to the song. I no longer had a zeal for God, but the zeal of God, the Holy Spirit.
“Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:1-4)
“But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:14-17)
I read Moses so much my entire lifetime and became Moses myself somehow. I read Jesus too but not with the knowledge of the difference between the two. I read them together. I tried to follow them together. And the more I try, the more I felt being torn apart. I would go to Moses to know what evil to avoid. And I would go to Jesus to know what good to try to do. I saw Jesus as another Moses, someone promoting Moses. But Bob from Basic Gospel, People to People Ministries at the time, helped rightly divide the word. What helped the most was that whatever he was sharing I could actually and easily put those into practice. Things like believing for sure that all of my sins (past, present, future) are all forgiven! Things like knowing that Christ lives in me today! Things like I’m safe and kept in him!
These are the things that I was always uncomfortable with knowing and trusting because never had anyone the guts to come and tell me such a thing. And when I tested those newly heard things, I found them to be true!!
By then, I most certainly wanted to be zealous for God again but with a whole new perspective. Then, the Spirit tames me to rest and be satisfied alone with being zealous of God, and not for Him. It was like listening to my wife and do what she told me she would appreciate vs seeing her and running to do what I believe she should appreciate.
“His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”” (John 2:17)
Yes, very truly, zeal for your house, your Church, consumes me for you live in me.
Love is the zeal of God.
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:23)
Love is the zeal of God.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)
Believe in Jesus, not Moses, but Jesus alone and you will already have had the zeal of God, the promised gift, the Holy Spirit.
Whoever believes in him shall have eternal life.