“Phinehas, son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites by displaying passionate zeal among them on my behalf.” (Numbers 25:11 NLT)
Christians should be zealous for heaven’s sake. Zeal without knowledge is a runaway horse; on the other hand, knowledge without zeal is a dead horse. A live wire improperly grounded and insulated is dangerous; but a dead wire cannot conduct light, heat, or energy. Immobility gets people nowhere. Indifference makes God want to vomit. Sincere faith does more than just fill our mind with ideas—it permits God’s ideas to possess our mind. Opinions, like suitcases, can be carried around and easily set aside; but convictions carry us around. If we let the Holy Spirit Dynamo stir our soul to live passionately, some people may ridicule our goings-on and label us fanatics; but we should not let our critics’ lack of excitement stifle ours. It’s time we quit sleeping in! It’s time we listened to heaven’s wake-up call! It’s time we let the Fire in our heart melt the lead in our feet! Loving the Lord with all our mind will keep us awake.
Christians should be zealous for holiness’ sake. We should never imitate Balaam, who was more interested in money than mission. We should refuse to emulate Zimri, who flagrantly violated God’s orders and disregarded His law. It would be foolish to copy the Israelites by allowing ourselves to be seduced by the Devil’s wiles, compromise with culture, descend sin’s slippery slope, and commit spiritual prostitution. It is the highest wisdom to submit to our Sovereign Lord and let Him change the way we think so we can transcend the slavish thinking of majority opinion. If we are like Phinehas, we will be like God—hating sin. Inspired by the indwelling Holy Spirit, we will run from half-heartedness. Serving the King of kings, we will avoid laziness and whistle while we work. Loving the Lord with all our strength will keep us busy.
Christians should be zealous for God’s honor. His Presence within creates enthusiasm without. Burning and shining lights never turn into icicles. An inner Flame blazing within our heart glows on our face, makes us intensely alive, and motivates our good works. We should not make mediocre plans—we should aim for the stars! Loving the Lord with all our soul will keep us excited.
Christians should be zealous for God’s house. Jesus got angry at sin—so should we. Passion for the Temple caused him to bound loan sharks from the vestibule of his Father’s house turned shopping mall and unplug their cash registers. We should expel everything from our inner being inappropriate for one named after Christ. We should upend shiny, reflective tables of narcissism. Loving the Lord with all our heart, we will keep on.
Johnny R. Almond
Pastor, Hull’s Memorial Baptist Church – Friends on a Journey of Faith
Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity—Scripture Personalized
This devotional based on day 89 of Gentle Whispers from Eternity