Zeal, the backbone of faithfulness

Today’s devotional (Jan. 5) is about zeal, a favorite topic of mine:

Zeal is devotion to and the pursuit of a cause, ideal, or goal. It is the backbone of faithfulness, I Kings 19:10. When God does what He promises to do, it is called “the zeal of the Lord,” II Kings 19:31; Isaiah 9:6,7; Ezekiel 5:13. It was “zeal” for the house of God that moved Jesus to cleanse the temple, John 2:17. We are to have that same commitment to the Lord—determined, focused, and dedicated to the purposes of heaven, Titus 2:14; Revelation 3:19. Obviously, it is good to be zealous for what is good. —Ed Mathews

Good read, good reminder. Still time to start with us on this yearly, meaty devotional.

Focus question: How intense is my zeal for the Lord? Are there times when it flags? What causes zeal to diminish? What feeds positive zeal?

  • Hope Randal doesn’t mind if I’m wordy here.
    Why was zeal in the church after the gospel was preached on Pentecost? How can we know there was zeal for Christ and God in the early church?
    We know because the Bible tells us. Those who had obeyed the gospel at the preaching of Peter “were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer,” (Acts 2:42 NASB). They were continually devoting themselves. That’s zeal.
    How did they become so zealous? The answer is in the same verse and the reasons appear as participles, or action words that end in “ing.” They had devoted themselves to teaching, fellowshipping and breaking of bread and prayer. These three actions impart zeal for Christ and God in Christianity.
    They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles. The apostles shared with them the truth Christ taught them. Christianity is a taught religion. Jews were born and then educated. Christians are educated and then born again. The more we learn about Christ, God, and the gospel, the more we want to learn. The more we understand, the more secure in faith we grow! Faith comes from the preaching and teaching of God’s word (Romans 10:17).
    Fellowshipping means sharing. The disciples of Pentecost had come together for a temporary celebration of Passover. Now, things were different. They had found Christ and each other and didn’t want to leave. They shared their money and possessions as the apostles shared the teaching of Christ to them. They shared their love of God with the people they now loved. This sharing creates zeal in people’s hearts.
    Breaking of bread has to do with the observance of the remembrance of Jesus as instituted by him in the gospels in the Lord’s Supper. Sharing the bread and fruit of the vine is more than just eating and drinking. It is eating and drinking in the love of Christ as he died for sin and gave the gift of his love for Christians. It is also a special means of sharing something dear that builds zeal for Christ and the church.
    This zeal developed after they obeyed the gospel is why these first-century Christians were willing to die for their Lord.
    Why is there so little zeal now? If this is the case, it is so because the teaching, sharing and breaking of bread has been abandoned by many. It just makes sense that if God’s people increased these wonderful things today, we could be filled with zeal as much as they were in the first century, doesn’t it?

What say you?