Thursday, September 10, 2015

What Are You Zealous For?

"For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.  And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers."
Galatians 1:13, 14 (NKJV)

Have you ever watched a sporting event on television and seen some of the people in the stands who are there to watch their favorite team?  Some people are very committed to their sports teams and show this by how they act, what they say, and even how they dress.  Some people don't care for sports but they do follow some music group, singer, or entertainer. This type of person who closely follows and identifies with some sports team, musician, or someone else is referred to as a fan.  It is interesting to note that, according to the dictionary, the word fan is most likely derived from the word fanatic.

In Galatians Paul talked about how he was zealous for the traditions of his fathers.  This word "zealous" means, to burn with zeal, to be eagerly desirous of something, or to vehemently content for something.  This is not just a passive or mild desire or thought about something, it is an all consuming passion.  In fact, this word Paul used can be traced back to a word that means to boil with heat, like boiling water.  Paul was zealous for Jewish tradition, you could even say he was a fan of it.  Paul was very committed to what he believed, but what he believed was not right.

There are many things that people are zealous about.  But like Paul, people can be very committed to and passionate about something and still be wrong, even with religious things.  As Christians we identify with Jesus and should be zealous about following Him and doing His will; we can find God's will in His Word, the Bible.  How we live, what we say, our goals and dreams should all fall in line with God and His Word.  It is good to be zealous but we need to be zealous for the right things.  Because Jesus is our Lord and Savior His will and way need to be what we are most passionate about.

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