Sunday, November 25, 2012

Zeal For God Is Not Enough

“Well at least he’s passionate about what he believes.”

 Do you hear this too? It’s as if passion justifies belief.

A passion for God is not enough. Paul said as much speaking of the Jews: “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2). Zeal is not enough. A strong desire is not enough. Passion won’t save your soul.

Zeal (which I am using interchangeably with passion) is a wonderful thing that we see in strong Christian men and women. We see it in Christ in the Scriptures: “For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me” (Psalm 69:9).

But Christ said, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). He did not say, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by being zealous.”

We live by God’s word. God’s word (through the Spirit) produces a passion based on the truth of special revelation.

Therefore, correct knowledge kindles the flame of zeal. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices…” (Psalm 16:9). This rejoicing of the whole being is based on the first verses of Psalm 16. God gives David counsel. God is with David so he will not be shaken. David has no good apart from God.

Correct knowledge frees our consciences from wondering if the passion we have is truly godly.

Christianity is a religion of thinking, not irrational emotionalism. It involves knowledge, comprehension, understanding, insight, wisdom, and enlightenment. Paul talks about this often, especially (as I’ve learned recently) in the book of Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:17-18
“…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…”

Ephesians 3:18-19
“…may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God…”

Ephesians 4:13-15
“…until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…”

Ephesians 5:10
“…and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”

Ephesians 5:17
“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Other passages include: 1 Peter 1:13, Romans 12:2, Colossians 1:6

True knowledge coupled with passion for the truth is a beautiful thing. True knowledge unleashes passion because the truth is rich and exciting (Psalm 119:18). When knowledge comes through the mind and drops into our heart, our whole being is enthralled with the glory of God.

This is why we need to read our Bibles. Because God has ordained that the Spirit work through the Word so we would come to know the things of God. 

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