On Christian Zeal: Part 2

20 May


This is the second post in a series examining Christian zeal.  In this post we look at the first of the six marks of Christian zeal laid out in the first chapter of Joel Beeke and James La Belle’s book, Living Zealously:

Christian zeal is marked by love for God.

When asked what the greatest commandment was by a lawyer, Jesus answered him by saying, “Your shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and and your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt. 22:37-39)”  In fact, Jesus says this is a summary of all the Law and the Prophets.

In a recent message on Exodus 19-20, I explained the way in which the Ten Commandments were necessarily interwoven, and reveal a very convicting truth: I cannot truly love other people if I do not love God, and I am not truly loving God if I am not loving other people.

What does all this have to do with Christian zeal? Well,  Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  Thus, if we say that the first mark of Christian zeal is a love for God, we can also safely say that love for God is marked by a desire to and an effort at obeying the commands of God.

What does that entail?  It includes growing in our knowledge of God, His ways, and His works as revealed to us in Scripture and in the Creation around us.  It includes loving others by obeying the second table of the Law (Commandments 4-10), living as agents of mercy and grace, serving as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God–proclaiming the message of the Gospel to people everywhere–and walking in the good works prepared for us beforehand by God for His glory.

It would suffice to say that there is so much more that we could talk about with regard to what this looks like.  But the point I want to make is: Love for God is marked by a desire to and an effort at obeying the commands of the Lord God.  Such obedience serves to glorify His name, love and serve our neighbor, and produces joy within the hearts of those who pursue it.

This is what it looks like to possess the first mark of Christian zeal.


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