March 15, 2019

Christian Alphabet: Z

Welcome! We've arrived at "Z" end of our Christian Alphabet journey - Z for zeal. It's potent and personal. How so? ZEAL is defined as "persistent fervent devotion to a cause". You've heard the term "cause and effect". It follows that "the greater the cause, the greater the effect". We're zeroing in on zeal for God - so it's more like "the greater the ZEAL, the greater the ZING". Our zeal for God determines our zest for living - our "zing!" factor. Here's God's encouraging exhortation: "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." (Romans 10:11,12, New Testament). Let's ask two questions worth asking.

How do we produce zeal for God? Let's use the acrostic Z–E–A–L:

Z - Don't zigzag, zoom in on the God Zone. The God Zone is who God is, what He's doing and how he operates in the world - your world. In other words, be fervent, be passionate about knowing God. Search out His heart, His attibutes, His powers, His ways, His will, His Word to you. For example, today read Ephesians 5:15-18 and discover why spiritual ZEAL is a "must have".

E - Educate yourself, engage, others who demonstrate godly zeal. Zeal without knowledge is dangerous so be spiritually intelligent, your best defense against self-defeating ignorance. Get into a fellowship that teaches God's Word. Many people own a Bible - some actually read it. Zeal grows in proportion to your understanding of GOD. Engage those who are zealous "life-time learners and affirmers".

A - Allegiance to God upscales your personal powers. At times you'll be tempted to give up, drop out, blame God rather than bless Him. Why? Because things don't go the way you expected. Jesus said, "Have faith in God." Faith is acting upon what you say you believe - regardless of the circumstances or consequences. Your allegiance ultimately reveals God's faithfulness to the faithful. God multiplies power to the faithful. Who has your allegiance?

L - Love puts the "zing" in life. Knowing you are loved by God lifts you to a new level. Absence of real love stings. God's love zings. Read John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 and see/know/feel anew the depth of God's love for you. Start loving God back as you read His love letter (Bible) to you daily. Pray regularly. Pray expectantly. Fellowship constantly with other believers. Serve God with a smile. Zeal knows love, love knows zeal, they're always kissing one another.

Now, let's ask the second question: What does ZEAL produce in us?

First, we're joyful in hope. Hope in our God produces optimism. Hope means expectation. Knowing security in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, brings hope. This is what the Savior does - brings salvation, produces joy as He becomes our HOPE. My Grandmother used to say, "He'll hope you" - substituting hope for the word help.

Second, we're patient in tribulation. Tribulation is a certainty. Will we survive? It's often in doubt. God produces industrial strength patience in those who put their lives in His hands. Impatience has caused many falls, crashes, breakdowns and meltdowns. The Holy Spirit produces supernatural patience to defeat our enemies, resolve our problems and redeem our relationships.

Third, we're faithful in prayer. Here's the issue: Are we faithful to pray about everything, acknowledging our dependence upon God and our heartfelt desire to make Him king of our lives? Prayer is a way of life - His way.

May you and I both stay zealous and keep the zing zinging.

In His Name, Chuck

P.S.: Share your "Zing" story? Let me hear from you.

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