Zeal is a word we don’t use much nowadays. Zeal is a strong passion for something. Zeal is almost overwhelming. Anything of this sort is ripe for ridicule. And as a result, within the Church we’ve tended to shy away from zeal. Zeal is radical. And we don’t want to be known as radicals. Why not?
And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” – John 2:16-17, ESV
It’s actually not enough to keep the holy set apart – not if we want to follow the example of our Savior. Christ could have gone about clearing the temple in a different way. However, he immediately solved the issue. He drove out the animals. He gathered up the money. Then he overturned the tables. He did so to the surprise of everyone there.
In committing these acts, Jesus challenged the religious authority. He acted against the status quo. He did so publicly, authoritatively, but justly, not sinning or going to excess. His actions made those around him think of an Old Testament passage which described zeal. So while zeal is extremely passionate, it doesn’t cross the line. Zeal is under control. Passionate action which crosses the line into sin does not glorify God.
God expects us to live our lives for Him. He also expects that we do so with great passion. However, in that passion we are to do so carefully, mindfully, focused on doing what Scripture tells us is right and acceptable before Him. Are you passionately pursuing after God and His Kingdom? If not, what’s holding you back? What is between you and the example of our Lord we see in these passages? Don’t be afraid of what others might think. The only opinion which matters is God’s. Let us be more like His Son and pursue the Father with zeal.