Remedies for those things that drain away the vitality of our faith
When we think of Christian faith we often think of those heroes past and present whose lives reflect the courage and fortitude needed to stand up for Christ in the face of an opposite world. We recall their drive, experiences and actions and feel inspired. What zeal! Then we look at our own lives, and it is at this point that we can often get totally depressed! Where is the passion, the conviction and the heroic stand of MY faith? How is it that life seems to keep getting in MY way, and I don’t always feel or act in accordance with the living faith I see in others? Is there something wrong with me? Is my faith genuine, and if so, then what do I have to do to put it in its rightful place regarding my daily life experiences? Is it even possible for me to become a “hero of faith” even in a small way? How do I relight faith?
The word “zeal” in the Bible means “heat.” The most common misconception about zeal is that it depicts emotion. It does not. When Jesus cleared the Temple of the moneychangers he was recognized as fulfilling the prophecy (Psalm 69:9) that said, “The zeal of thine house hath consumed me.” This scene was NOT describing Jesus barreling through the Temple tossing tables and smashing THINGS in an angry fit of rage. No – his motivation was far deeper, stronger and more focused than simple anger…Jesus saw corruption and thievery against the common people. It was happening in the Temple, a place devoted to solemn praise and worship of God. He could not allow such disrespect to be given without standing in its way and proclaiming the holiness of God’s house. That is zeal.
Many of us believe that if we do not have the courage Jesus displayed and an opportunity for a dramatic expression, we must be lacking in passion. This is the second common misconception about zeal, as it is not usually expressed with such public vigor. Actually, Christian fervor is expressed in many different ways and on many different levels. It is developed and expressed internally as well as externally, and therefore may not ever be blatantly recognizable to those around you.
The third misconception about Christian zeal is that it is a self-perpetuating power. This could not be further from the truth. Christian passion and focus need help every step of the way, as there are many life circumstances that can derail or diffuse it. Check out our August 6, 2018 podcast, “How do I Relight the Fire of My Christian Faith?” for more on this. We look at several biblical examples of those whose zeal got lost or overshadowed and follow what they did and what happened to rekindle their fire. Understanding their dramatic experiences of lost zeal provides us with several valuable tools to apply in our own lives to our own fervor. Your Christian zeal is important – it can and should define you. Listen in and relight that fire!
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