my zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. [psalm 119:139]
what stirs your zeal?
what gets you angry? what digs into your ego so furiously that you can’t let it go? and when you get there, is it about you, or about God?
“vengeance is mine; i will repay, says the Lord.” [deut. 32:35]
“take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for i am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest in your souls.” [mt. 11:29]
in taking Jesus’ yoke, we usually think about Jesus carrying our burdens for us, and that does happen. when people ridicule, oppose, and persecute us for his sake, Jesus will bear that load for us, and we do not need to take our own vengeance: God will take care of that!
we think about the second part of taking on Jesus’ yoke less – carrying His burdens. we don’t have to carry the burden of our ego because our identity and value are in Christ alone, but as we do that we start to pick up the zeal of the Lord!
think about it: God meekly allowed sinful man to torture, ridicule, and kill him, yet zealously carries out vengeance on those who persecute us. likewise, we are called to endure much persecution of our self without seeking vengeance, but in return we get to zealously fight Jesus’ battles!
zeal of the flesh protects the self;
zeal of the Spirit fights for the Lord.
Lord, teach us to care not for our own security, reputation, or fame: in the place of the fleshly zeal we are dying to, give us zeal for you and your word. teach us the wisdom to recognize when you stir our zeal, and when our sinful flesh stirs it. we long to serve uou; withhold not your zeal from your servants!
~ stephen hall