“Who (Christ) gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14
Friend, please read that again.
Do those words bring a prickle of shame? Do you feel guilt? I hope so. I know I do.
Has anyone ever told you that you’re peculiar? Most likely someone has at some point in time. Has anyone ever told you that you’re peculiar because you have shown yourself to be zealous in your service to the Lord? I doubt it. No one has ever told me that. And that’s certainly not to my credit, or yours.
What is zeal? Here’s the definition I found fitting: “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.” To be zealous is to pursue something with energy, to devote time and enthusiasm to a particular activity.
How often don’t we make comments about each other, noting the important things in each other’s lives? We often say “You can tell that basketball is important to him.” “She really cares about her school work.” “He puts so much effort into his job.” Our actions each day show what we value as most important. The things we’re excited about, discuss with our friends, and devote much of our time to are the things we’re zealous about. But why are the comments we always make pointing to zeal for earthly activities? There’s nothing wrong with being zealous for earthly activities – and often they’re good things to care about – but there is certainly an imbalance where spiritual activities are concerned. Is it because earthly things are easier to talk about than spiritual things? Perhaps, but I doubt it. I think we most often take note of the zeal for earthly things because most often that’s the only real zeal we are showing.
I very rarely am zealous in doing good works. I am next to never enthusiastic about sitting down for devotions time each day. Even when I do flee a particular temptation, I don’t follow the Lord’s will with great energy and excitement. I am far from zealous in being a servant of Christ. In fact, most days I am the exact opposite. I’m a sinful child, ungrateful and unwilling to obey my gracious Father. If you’re anything like me, the same is true of you. Zeal for the Lord seems like a lot to ask of us.
But Christ gave himself for me and for you, friend. Every bit of himself, offered for us. And what does he ask in return? He asks for energy and enthusiasm in doing the good works He calls us to. And we often feel like he asks too much? We ought to be humbled by his grace. Ashamed of our attitudes.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:19
Repent, friend. And then go out today, and tomorrow, and every day and be consciously, actively zealous to the point of peculiarity. Be excited when you open your Bible for devotions tonight, rather than opening it out of a sense of duty or guilt that you haven’t lately. Be the peculiar one, the one zealous enough to tell your friends that you won’t watch the movie they’re popping in when you know that none of you should be watching what will come up on that screen. Be zealous enough to drive to school in silence because every song you flipped through on the radio was filled with profanity or inappropriate lyrics. Be enthusiastic as you encourage and help others. Whatever good works the Lord calls you to, do them not because it’s commanded, but do them because you have a thankful, grateful, zealous heart. Be zealous to the point that others see that the work of the Lord is the most important thing you do during your day.
Anna Van Egdom