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Why Zeal for Jesus is Important

by Bill Welsh

Why Zeal for Jesus is Important

"It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing” (Galatians 4:18). 
“A fanatic is just someone who is more excited than you are.” - Anonymous

Everyone of us are a bundle of passions, desires, disappointments, regrets, commitments, interests and relationships. All of that is crammed into our hearts and minds, but there’s always one or two passions that rise to the top of that hierarchy of desires. There’s something we’re all fanatical about. Something for which we are zealous. We will give much free time and a good amount of not-so-free-time to the “one thing” that consumes and captivates us. In fact, we say this thing “consumes” us, because it literally does; it consumes our time, resources and limited head space.

What moves beyond “mild interest” to the point of zeal?

What captivates you? Money? Health? Family? Sports? Coffee? Video games? Paul was right. It is good to be zealous about good things. King David had that kind of zeal for what’s real, and whoever wrote this song is paying respects to him specifically for that passion. Remember, this collection of songs finds us just two steps from the end of our journey. We can see the front door of God’s house, that magnificent structure in Jerusalem that was King David’s pet project. He ached to build God’s house himself. It would have been his magnum opus. But because David had blood on his hands, he lost the privilege of becoming the general contractor on that project, yet committed considerable time, effort and finances to preparing his son Solomon for that work.

Every worshiper walking those temple courts was aware of the debt owed to David for the zeal that had consumed him.

So they prayed, “Lord remember David, in all that he suffered … his solemn promise … his vow … his determination to never rest until he found a place for You to dwell.” It was their way of saying, “Thanks, David for your part in giving us this wonderful place.” You can hear David’s longing for that place of closeness to God in two of his songs:

• "One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” (Psalm 27:4).

•  “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Psalm 23:6).

In those days, the temple was God’s house, the place God chose to dwell in Jerusalem, the city God has chosen to bless. Of course, God didn’t then and doesn’t now need a house made of sticks or stones, but He did allow this physical focal point as a worship center where His people could gather to remember His goodness and renew their commitment to serve Him. Is there a place like that on earth today? There are buildings we consecrate as temples, tabernacles, sanctuaries and holy ground, but in no way do any truly resemble their ancient counterpart in Jerusalem, or the “mobile home” Moses built that accompanied God’s people throughout their wanderings.

Where does God dwell now? He dwells in us. We are His home, His temple. He lives in each of us and in all of us who enter into covenant with Him through faith in the finished work of Jesus who went “to prepare a place for us.” Jesus wasn’t speaking of another stone temple or canvas pop tent, but a place of fellowship, friendship and true communion with Him.

It was Jesus’ zeal and passion for us that consumed Him. He would not rest in the eternal glory, beauty and safety of heaven without finding a way to have us there with Him.

Jesus was, by definition, a fanatic when it came to His zeal to build this house. “Fanatic” comes from the latin fanaticus, describing a person whose extreme zeal goes beyond what is reasonable. Why does that make me think of “Cheeseheads” aka Green Bay Packer fans?

So yes, Jesus was a fanatic. Nothing turned Him from His course of saving us. Not even a 40-day battle with the devil. Jesus mowed down the obstacles, cleared the roadblocks, destroyed the destroyer and crushed the head of our archenemy. Why? To get us home. So yes! Thank you, King Jesus, for being zealous and jealous for us. Thank you for Your fierce love. Thank you for Your completed work on that bloody cross where the burden of our sin was lifted and the stain of our sin removed. We know how Jesus demonstrated God’s love to us, but how do we now demonstrate our love for Him? Perhaps the best way is to honor His house and keep it clean from division and strife and filled with love and compassion for one another 

Now, may we, like David, not rest until we have made a place in our hearts for Christ to dwell as our king, savior, healer, deliverer and friend.

And may we be filled with increasing zeal for the house of God and act on that zeal:

• Like Mary, pouring costly oil all over Jesus’ feet, after He set her free..
• Like Zacchaeus, offering half his fortune to bless the poor, after Jesus showed Him favor.
• Like Peter, Andrew, James and John, leaving their former business to dedicate the rest of their life to Jesus.
• Like “Legion” hitting the road to tell His Jesus story to astounded neighbors who’d given up on him ever being sane again.

Retain your holy fixation with things above. Refuse an earthbound view. Be very heavenly minded. Be a fanatic for Jesus. We are on the final ascent to God’s house. We’re almost home. May our zeal for what is real increase with the finish line in full view.

Bill Welsh

Bill Welsh wrote this article. He is the senior pastor of Refuge Calvary Chapel. Please visit his website and follow him on Twitter @pastorbillwelsh​