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Reflections: Living with Zeal

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a big fan of the Chicago Bears. They would also know that I love cooking, baking, my family and my friends. I guess in some ways, you could consider me “zealous” for those things.

On Sunday, Chris spoke on Mark 3: 17 and talked about the zeal of the apostle James. Near the end of his sermon, Chris said that “we are all zealous, but are we zealous for the right thing?” I don’t consider myself especially fiery, so that question got me thinking: what does zeal look like in my life?

If I look at the list of my “favorites” above, I can get a glimpse of how to identify zeal in my life:

1.  It is where I spend my time. I look forward to spending time doing all of the things above. I sometimes plan my day around those passions. Do I excitedly anticipate time with Jesus?

2. I talk to others about them. If someone brings up a new recipe, I listen with rapt attention. I can readily discuss the Bears’ needs for the upcoming draft.  Do I search for opportunities to talk about Jesus?

3. I long for intimacy with my favorite people. It makes me sad whenever I only have time for a brief what’s-the-latest-news chat with a friend or family member instead of a real, heart-level conversation. Do I yearn for intimacy with Jesus?

At times, I could answer “yes” to all of the questions about Jesus. If I am being honest, though, I know that my zeal for my Savior doesn’t burn red-hot every second of every day… but I desperately want it to.

I can also point to times I know my zeal for Jesus was closer to a James-like level. I have felt it when I am presented with an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone who is hurting, and I have felt it when I experience the amazing truth of the Gospel in my life (Colossians 1:21-22). The truth of God’s only, perfect Son dying for the completely undeserving does something in my heart I can’t fully describe (Romans 15:13).

The other time I feel the most zeal is in times of suffering. This, I know, must sound crazy to anyone who doesn’t know Christ, but Christ’s faithfulness and work on my heart during the toughest times leaves me in awe of Him! (Psalm 94:17-19)

My prayer is that God continues to create in me a zealous heart, through any means necessary—whether that is sharing the Gospel, experiencing the Gospel, suffering or some other way. Do you pray for zeal?

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