Recapturing Your Zeal
Zeal is an overwhelming force. Psalm 22 states that “God is enthroned on the praises of Israel”. The word “praise” here doesn’t just mean singing a few nice songs, or thinking quietly about God. No, the word means “high” praise. Praise that is fervent, loud, passionate. God is not enthroned in any old worship. He is enthroned in passionate worship.
That is why you go to some worship services and they may be singing a few nice songs, but God is not enthroned. There is no sense of his manifest presence. It’s because people are not bringing the sacrifice of fervent praise. The flesh is still in charge. People are being entertained and are giving only a small amount of honour and respect to God.
But why is zeal, fervour and passionate praise so very important? To understand that we need to understand another aspect of the blueprint of God, a design aspect that links zeal with the advancement of the Kingdom:
The Ever Increasing Kingdom
Isaiah 9:7 says of Jesus “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end”. His government is his rule, his Kingdom and his power on earth today. According to this verse it will never stop increasing. It is increasing as you read this book. There is more Kingdom on the earth today than there was yesterday. Tomorrow his experiential reign on the earth will have expanded its boundaries further than today. Why? Because his government will never stop increasing.
We want his Kingdom and government to come into schools, colleges, universities, families, homes, workplaces, churches, friendships and a host of other situations. To do this we need his government to continually increase, because, though he is in one sense, “Lord of all the earth”, in another sense that Lordship is still being experientially established, throughout every strata of society and nation of the earth day by day.
Passion is God’s Kingdom Increasing Tool
So how does the government increase? How does the Kingdom keep expanding into new lives and situations? The end of verse 7 tells us: “The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this”. Zeal is God’s kingdom increasing tool.
Why do young Christians bring so many people to Christ? Is it because they’re on fire for God and full of passion, or is it because they’re so full of wisdom? Ha! It’s because they are passionate and zealous! When some Christians become “mature” they lose their zeal, and at the same time they lose their ability to truly advance the Kingdom. They know more, but do less. Zeal, not knowledge, is the dynamic that increases the government of God. Ask anyone who has ever pioneered in anything and they will tell you that passion will take you places that knowledge alone never can. Now zeal must have knowledge added to it and that is good. But never lose your zeal. Knowledge without passion is just religion.
Passion in Praise and Prayer
The book of Matthew, chapter 11 and verse 12 tells us “The Kingdom of God is violently advancing”. Violence, passion and zeal expand the Kingdom. Not physical violence of course, but excited and passionate people, who care deeply for the things of God and whose lives express that fervour.
The book of James tells us that it is the “Effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man” that sees results, not the sleepy, meditative petition. Sometimes we just want to get away with quietly thinking about God and offering a whisper of thanks to him. But while meditative worship has its place, the walls of Jericho fell to a shout, not a whisper!
Can you imagine if the Israelites had been English at the city of Jericho? We’d have loved the first few days of quiet walking. I suppose we’d have broken out the tea and cucumber sandwiches! When day seven arrived though, I can imagine Joshua commanding us to “Shout for the Lord has given you the city!” I can picture thousands of tweed jacketed worshippers looking at Joshua from under their country caps and saying “Keep it down old chap – this is church and we’re English!”
I don’t think the walls would have fallen down that day.
Fervour in worship releases us beyond our culture and the restraints of fears and phobias. It pushes down the flesh and causes us to rely on the Spirit. It increases the Kingdom as we worship, praise, evangelise and preach passionately about God and his ever increasing Kingdom and glory. So release the sacrifice of praise and advance the Kingdom of God in your life through fervent praises. Your Jericho’s will fall to passionate praises too!
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Zeal without knowledge lacks wisdom. Proverbs
We were saying just the same at our worship day – time for the church to find it’s voice once again – the volume rose in the room – a few struggled but most pressed in.