According to Dictionary.com, zeal means fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor. There was a time when I had great zeal for weightlifting, and strength training. When I had such zeal, and passion for fitness, I would set certain goals. There were many times I might fall short of some of those goals, but the goals I had the most desire to meet - I let nothing stand in my way to reach them. Isn't it funny what we can accomplish, when we have the zeal in us to do it?
Paul the apostle influenced a certain friend and follower named Timothy. Timothy looked to Paul because he saw that Paul had such zeal for doing God's work. Paul knew this, and challenged Timothy, near the end of Paul's own life, to take up Paul's mantle, and pursue the Lord's work with as much fervor and zeal as Paul did.
Have you ever noticed that when someone we admire challenges us to go after something, it can motivate us that much more? What if leaders and teachers like Paul never encouraged those that looked up to them to do that?
I remember when I was in the fitness industry, and going all the way back to college - I had several friends who challenged me in workouts. I saw some of the things they could do, and I wanted to be able to say I could do it, too. It became an obsession, to break certain little personal records. I spent hours working out. I took certain supplements, and I ate more of this or that. And I accomplished what I set out to do.
Now what if I took that same desire to accomplish a mission for God, and pursued that, as much as I used to work out? That is what God wants us to do. Paul wrote to Timothy that God grants all those who choose to serve Him special gifts to do so. I obviously had some genetic traits that helped me accomplish some of my strength training goals. But lately, especially as I have progressed into my 40s, I just haven't had that same zeal or drive to accomplish goals in fitness.
So I had to ask myself, what gifts do I have that could help me accomplish my mission for God? Because frankly, lifting weights certainly wasn't going to do it :)
I heard my pastor's message today about this, and it made me realize that lately, I think I've been pretty busy, finding that gift. I used to have zeal for fitness - but lately, I've been passionate about my writing, and turning the point of that writing over to God... writing about God; writing about my experiences with God; writing about ways God can help others if they are willing to turn to Him. And I have discovered that the more I make God the focus, the easier it seems to keep writing. There is a new zeal, a new enthusiasm and fervor to accomplish God's mission. He told us to go and make disciples of all nations. Writing happens to be one way I can really do that. Since I have made writing my passion, and asked God to help me use this gift to serve Him, I have been able to set new goals. I have been able to pursue serving Him by writing words of inspiration or advice. I've been able to write stories, and come up with one long fictional series of stories to perhaps give readers a chance to look at the world differently. Discovering that I can write a decent story has helped me discover a new zeal for God, that I never knew I had before.
Have you come to any low points in your life, where you felt like you've lost your zeal for something? Age had a little something to do with me coming to that point in strength training, I think. But have you lost your passion for something you always had a passion for? What if you could have a passion for serving God, using some talent God blessed you with in your life? What if you knew some other believers, who seemed to have had that passion for their career? What if I told you, if God is your passion, then He will bless you with the ability to keep serving Him in that capacity?
We all get older. We all go through changes, and discover new things about ourselves along the way. Perhaps on this journey we call life, God can help you find passion in serving Him. Have you ever stopped to ask Him for such a thing?
If you are a believer, have you ever stopped for a moment, and just asked yourself - where is your zeal --- for God?