Wednesday, June 1, 2011
For [the Lord] put on righteousness as a breastplate or coat of mail, and salvation as a helmet upon His head; He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and was clad with zeal [and furious divine jealousy] as a cloak. Isaiah 59:16-17
We are told in God's Word, that Jesus, for the zeal of the Lord, went to the cross. He is our zeal. He puts zeal for God's Word, and God's Will, into us, as He fills us with Himself. Without this zeal, our lives would be mediocre and lukewarm, which we know God doesn't want for us. He has told us that He wants us hot or cold, but not lukewarm. Being lukewarm, is like sitting on the fence, not being able to decide if we are with God or not. We haven't made a choice of complete abandonment to His Kingdom.
Our family went camping this weekend, and it got very cold. The first night, we had no trouble keeping a fire going, but the next day, it took all our efforts to keep that fire blazing hot enough, to warm us up. Kristine's boyfriend, Nathan and I, were the keepers of the flame. They had gone and gathered wood with Kaylee, and brought back a nice haul of wood to feed a fire. Nathan sawed it up, and we had some nice smaller pieces, that would help start and keep, a fire burning.
I kept the fire burning, while they went on a drive around to the sights in the area. I had to keep moving, filling, and blowing on the fire, to keep it going. It had gotten quite cold, and with the temperature drop, and the wind, the fire kept wanting to go out. Then the snow started. That made the job even more difficult. We were determined to have the warmth from that fire, so all of us worked on keeping the fire going, but Nathan and I, kept stoking that fire as much as we could, once they had gotten back.
That night, as I sat there, tending this fire, and working so hard to keep it going, I realized that is our job, as we put on that cloak of zeal. If we fail to tend the fire of God in our hearts, we lose the flame, and it quits burning as brightly, as we need it to. We may still have a fire, but it may just be coals of heat, and not the flame it should be. Yes, the coals are hot, but without a continuous flame, it grows cold, and then your fire will be completely out. It took great effort, to keep the fire going, but it was worth all our efforts. It takes work to keep ourselves in the Word of God. It takes work to keep a prayer life going. It takes work, to keep the fellowship of the brethren. Each piece of "wood" we continue to place upon our "altar" of worship and fellowship of God, makes our zeal more abundant and vital to our spiritual walk.
Zeal is a passion for something. It is a burning desire. It is a continuous walk forward, towards a goal. It brooks no defeat to its goal. It fights to reach the prize. Paul says, "For the prize laid before me, I run the race...." The prize he was talking of, was the Salvation of Jesus Christ, being the best ambassador for God's Kingdom, that he could be, being the best representative of God's Life within him, that he could be. The prize was heaven in the end. Being with Jesus forever. Being crowned with a crown of righteousness that he could then throw at Jesus' feet.
What do you have zeal for? I encourage you to put on the zeal of Jesus. Be drawn to grow in Him. Be zealous for bringing forth God's goals. Be hot or cold, but get rid of apathy and lukewarmness. I heard a wonderful thought on the "hot" or "cold" verse. We all know hot is like zeal. It burns within you and creates a fire of endeavoring to do all you can to glorify God. But I always wondered about the cold. I didn't understand that part. A young man that I met, said it this way, "Cold is refreshing. It is like a cup of cold, cool water on a hot summer day. It cools you down, and refreshes your body with replenishing it wit"h what it needs." I liked that. The Holy Spirit is also called the "River of Life" and "Living Fire of God". Cold and Hot. Hot and Cold. May you be filled with the zeal of the Lord. God bless you all.