How Much Zeal Do You Have?

“Ask me not where I live or what I like to eat…Ask me what I am living for and what I think is keeping me from living fully for that.” -Thomas Merton

After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days. When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”

His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (John 2:12-17)

“We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in His Word, He intended to be conspicuous in our lives.”
-Charles Spurgeon

When Jesus was on earth, He was passionate about His Father’s house–and He is still passionate today. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians:

For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16).

As believer’s, our bodies are the dwelling place of God! Let’s just think about that briefly. Our bodies carry within us the very Spirit of the living God; Jesus is therefore just as zealous about our temples as He was about the physical dwelling place of God. This message may step on a few of our toes if we are willing to put our feet out there.

As believer’s, we must continually be reminding ourselves of the purpose of life–which is not happiness or health but holiness. Peter tells us:

While I regarded God as a tyrant I thought my sin a trifle; But when I knew Him to be my Father, then I mourned that I could ever have kicked against Him. When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon my breast to think that I could ever have rebelled against One who loved me so, and sought my good.” -C.H. Spurgeon

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

Zeal for the Right Things

Our lives may be consumed and wasted by our distractions, interests, and desires–some of which may even be right, noble, and worthy. However, God intends for us to be constantly moving towards holiness as He prunes things that are perhaps good in order for the better to bloom forth. Obedience and a relinquishment of our will to Him are required in this process as well as a firm grasp of His Word, a fervent prayer life and the constant listening to His “still small voice.” He alone equips and enables us to grow in Christlikeness as we willingly and humbly submit to His leading.

“The only thing that truly matters is whether a person will accept the God who will make him holy. At all costs, a person must have the right relationship with God … God has only one intended destiny for mankind–holiness. His only goal is to produce saints … He did not come to save us out of pity–He came to save us because He created us to be holy … Never tolerate, because of sympathy for yourself or for others, any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God … Holiness is not simply what God gives me, but what God has given me that is being exhibited in my life.”
(Oswald Chambers)

“The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.” -A.W. Tozer

Take It to Heart

I wonder if, like Jesus, zeal for our Father’s house consumes us. Are we willing to “make whips” to consciously drive out sin in our lives? Are we concerned about our personal holiness?

Paul sets forth for us a wonderful illustration in 1 Corinthians:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)