In an hour when there is no end to the injustices that will enflame our hearts it’s seriously vital for us Christ-followers to remember that it was primarily ZEAL for the Father and His house, not merely HOSTILITY against those perpetuating injustice that Jesus manifested in the temple in John 2.
“ZEAL FOR Your house has consumed me.” (John 2:27)
It’s so easy for our anger to cloud our minds with self-justification regarding our stance over any given issue. How do we know when we’re operating in a spirit of ZEAL, and not a spirit of shallow HOSTILITY?
The spirit of ZEAL will empower us to take up our cross and lay down our lives; not just on behalf of a cause or an issue, but on behalf of those who most oppose us! Jesus’ Kingdom isn’t merely an order of righteousness. It’s an order of righteousness where the unrighteous are miraculously made righteous under the authority of the Righteous One.
Jesus could take up a whip against the wicked because He was also willing to take up a cross on their behalf. His indictment against their evil, was ultimately connected to intercession on behalf of his enemies, as well as an invitation into a new way of living.
In an age when rage is kindled so quickly throughout our culture, we evangelicals (remember what that word means?) do well to remind our hearts that we follow the One Who prayed for His executioners: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:24)
Today, He issues the same prayer to the enemies of His Kingdom; (Yes. Even THOSE enemies…) And He invites them, (and us) into a fellowship of intimate forgiveness where His Spirit of love fills our hearts and floods every aspect of our lives. This is the self-denying power of the gospel for which the enemy has no counter-measure; one that witnesses to hard hearts and pierces the angry lies of the devil.
Heaven is not an inch concerned about us merely winning an uncivil war for morality. But there are crowns aplenty for those who win uncivil hearts into allegiance to the King. This must remain the victory ground we’re zealous to take: we only, ultimately win a cultural conflict when He wins the souls of those in hostility to His Kingdom.
“Father, give me the ZEAL of Jesus.”
JSB • April, 2021