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zeal, zealous

graphic: Martha G. Brady

Zeal is my word for this year. But not in the way you may think. I am not wanting to be more zealous personally. Well, that would be great, but wanting to be more zealous is so far off the grid for me that I can’t even think about it!

The word zeal was not on my radar for 2016!

I had other ideas about my word for the year…losing weight of course, more order and structure, and on and on. I had all kinds of words I was trying to sort through. Then I went to church Sunday and all that fell away! It became very clear. Zeal is not me right now. But it is something I need.

Even more, I need the reassurance that GOD is working zealously to keep His promises to me! That is more encouraging than anything I can imagine! Philippians 1:6 (below) is a promise I am hanging onto tightly with my fingernails digging in!

The work of zealousness is going to have to come from GOD for now. All I can see is weakness and failure. Click To Tweet

The work of zealousness is going to have to come from GOD for now. All I can see is weakness and failure on my part. See here. No, I don’t sit on my rear end passively. But I also don’t carry a huge burden that I have to do all the work! I can go into the New Year realizing that He is committed zealously to move me in the direction where He wants to take me! That is my only hope for this year frankly.

This is hopeful and encouraging…and can be for you too!

I’m hopeful and encouraged. He is moving me zealously as He keeps His covenant to me to complete my salvation. So as I go into the New Year, I’m not carrying a burden like so many do…and I have done often, of trying to do better…and failing. Of feeling that the Father is disappointed with me over and over again…as I am with myself.

Instead, the picture is of a powerful, militant Father who is actively committed to my growth.

But it won’t look the way I expect. It won’t happen in ways I anticipate. I’ve already observed that over my lifetime and from observing His work in the lives of others. He WILL get the job done. He has the resources to do it. I just need to cooperate with the work He is doing.

Growth won't look the way I expect. It won't happen in ways I anticipate. Click To Tweet

What will I do when my goals are blocked by people who disagree?

So when I have an agenda and someone crosses me, will I decide he/she is my enemy and refuse to maintain a relationship with them? Or worse, criticize them behind their back? Or will I recognize they are part of what GOD is doing to make me more like what He wants me to be?

When apparent misunderstandings arise in any relationships, how do I handle them? Assume they are as I heard them? Or do I ask the person if what I heard was correct so they can correct misunderstandings? It is the only fair, just and righteous thing to do isn’t it? Yes, even though it may temporarily be uncomfortable. Now, I need to take my own advice…always!

GOD is able to give us the strength and courage to do what is right in our relationships with one another. That is the largest part of what our Christian walk entails! I John talks about how the world will know we are Christians and one huge way is how we get along with other Christians!

Why are people not clamoring to come to our churches? It has little to do with our music or order of worship

We wonder why the world isn’t clamoring to our churches and think it has to do with external things. It has less to do with our music and worship service and more to do with how we treat each other  and those with whom we disagree. If we can’t get along with (church) family, why would they want to come? Our love for each other is one of the tests of true Christianity. Just sayin’.

We wonder why the world isn't clamoring to our churches and think it has to do with external things. It has less to do with our music and worship service and more to do with how we treat each other and those with whom we disagree. Click To Tweet

I guess I’m rambling a bit, but in some ways, not all that much. It’s often the little things that throw us off. We line up our goals and resolutions for a new year. Then the first Sunday we go to church, someone says or does something that ticks us off, and 5 resolutions tumble down. We need to face the fact that we are weak! No matter how strong we think our resolve is, we are weak. If we can’t count on GOD’s powerful zeal and commitment to us to finish the work He started in us, we will never make it to the finish line…ever!

I’m excited to know that the almighty power of GOD is behind His commitment to my growth in Christ. That is a zeal I can get behind.

For this New Year, I’m counting on His zealous commitment to me to give me the zeal I need to finish the course He has lined up for me. I’m counting on it!

And I am sure of this,
that he who began a good work in you 
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6

We love because he first loved us.
 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar;
for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
And this commandment we have from him:
whoever loves God must also love his brother.
I John 4:19-21

And all these, though commended through their faith,
did not receive what was promised,
 since God had provided something better for us, 
that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, 
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 11:39-40, 12:1-2

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17