The Apostle Paul wrote, "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God" (Romans 10:2-3).
Zeal is a term that means to be enthusiastic and to have diligent devotion in pursuit of a cause, ideal or goal (American Heritage Dictionary).
Looking around one can see zeal in the lives of many. Some are zealous for their families, going the extra mile to make sure each person in the family has what they need. Others are zealous about their jobs, working like Trojans to get the job accomplished. Still others are zealous about their recreation, spending as much time as possible involved in whatever it might be.
While the above mentioned things in themselves are not evil, one does have to bear in mind to keep them in their proper place. God is to come first above all (Matthew 6:33).
So when one thinks of the zeal he or she may have for family, jobs, recreation, etc., one also need to remember to be more zealous for God than these physical things. God has blessed us with all those things.
Everyone should have a zeal for God and his word. Peter wrote, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen" (2 Peter 3:18).
The Ethiopian nobleman is a good example of one who had a zeal for God’s word (Acts 8). He was willing to sit and listen to Phillip tell him about Christ.
Zeal for the truth of God’s word motivated the Bereans to "search the scriptures" to see if what was being taught was the truth (Acts 17).
When the song, "Tell Me the Old, Old Story," is sung, one should listen to the words. No matter how many times one hears the gospel preached, it is a balm for sins, and sweet words to ears of those who love God.
Without a true zeal for God’s word, a person will have a difficult time putting it into practice. This is why personal Bible study is a must, as well as congregational study.
There needs to be a zeal for evangelizing the world. The words Jesus spoke prior to ascending back to the Father were not said just to fill a page. They are commands to every Christian. He said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:19-20).
Christians must be zealous in reaching those who are lost. So many souls are facing eternity each day having never known the gospel. Some take the attitude of leaving evangelism to the preacher.
Sure it is one of the responsibilities of the preacher to evangelize, but it is also the responsibility of every Christian.
Evangelism takes effort, it is not easy. Even those experienced in personal work get tired and frustrated from time to time. God knew this would happen, notice what he had Paul write to the faithful Christians in Galatia, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Galatians 6:9).
Is not helping one see the gospel doing good? As when our Lord walked among men, the "fields are white unto harvest" (John 4:35).
Christians need to be zealous in the fight against worldliness in the church. It is the idea of some even in the church that nothing should be said to anyone about anything. That idea is straight from Satan himself for it is a lie.
The church is to be kept pure. Look at the writings of Paul as he talked about marriage and the church. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).
Moral standards are being lowered on every front. The church must stand firm against all immorality. The church must zealously teach both young and old that such things will bring damnation to the souls of those who participate in such and to those who uphold such (Galatians 5:19-21; 2 John 9-11).
The question each person must ask themselves is, "Am I zealous for the Lord?" How terrible it would be to miss heaven because of misdirected zeal.