Scared to be a zealot

I have found that often in my life I have feared that God would grow me. I wanted to grow on the outside. I wanted to become more Christlike, but I had a great inner fear. I was afraid that if I tried to really seek the Lord and beg Him for revival that He would answer my prayer. I was afraid that if I asked God to make me more like Christ that He would and that in the process I would lose the things that mattered to me in my life. I had set up all types of things that were more important to me than living as I ought. I still went to church, and read my Bible and prayed. But I did not seek God’s face.

I did not want to be a zealous Christian, just a normal Christian. There is this atmosphere in churches around the country that Christianity is not a religion of zealousness. Zealots are people that go over-board. Zealots are people that don’t know where the sensible line is to stop and do everything they can possibly do to accomplish their goal. American Christianity does not like Zealots. We like to go to church in our nice clothes. We might even like to go to church a few times a week.
Someone who actually wants to talk about the Bible at church is accepted; they are at church. But outside of church? You still want to talk about the Bible? That is starting to get on the edge.

That is starting to get a little too pushy. We don’t want to push people. We want to befriend them, and show we are like them. We want to drop hints that we go somewhere on Sunday and leave it at that. We want to allow them to come to our church where they can hear the Gospel and the Bible in the proper accepted place without anyone feeling like some line of propriety has been crossed.

Wow, how did we get here?! Did the apostles do that? Certainly the chief priests would have been fine if the apostles had only spoken of Jesus death and resurrection in the upper room. They could have hinted that they met in the room and then if people showed up they could explain why they are meeting. Bah! Where is the boldness of the Gospel? Why are we ashamed of it? As little kids we memorize Romans 1:16 yet we lose all sense of the meaning of the verse before we are a teen.

Why are we scared to hand out a tract? Why are we scared to tell someone we are going to Heaven and that Jesus saved us from sin? Because it isn’t popular? Is the Gospel supposed to be popular? They killed our Savior and He said they will persecute us. Because we will feel weird? We will feel weird about telling the greatest thing that has ever happened to us. We will feel awkward about sharing the escape from sin and Hell we have experienced. We will feel odd about sharing the joyous family we have been adopted into and the love and peace there is in Christ. Really?!

We are uncomfortable because we have forgotten about the power of the Gospel. Because we have forgotten the glory we have in Christ. But often, it is because we have not pursued all the riches we could have. Certainly the escape from sin and Hell are motive enough, but how many Christians are like I was/am? How many are afraid to grow because they don’t want to lose something never understanding that what they lose is a heavy weight and what they gain is Christ?

I began to draw an analogy here but came across this quote that I feel fits nicely instead. “In the famous battle between David and Goliath there was Goliath, the enemy to God and his people; David, the young under-sized boy; and the cowardly Jewish army. Too often American evangelicals look like a cowering army instead of a zealous David. There is opposition to God and his Word. How can we just hang our heads and give up?!” Nebraska Coach Brown http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/04/29/is-this-evangelical-coach-out-of-bounds/

We get saved and then we act like the only thing that mattered was the escape from Hell. We don’t want to be rid of our sin. God saved us from our sin and we want to remain in it. We don’t want to grow because we are comfortable. I speak from experience. I liked my Christian life. I didn’t want to lose something that everyone around me was doing, but I wasn’t sure God would let me keep doing if I tried to grow.

God, forgive me of my sin! Oh, let me not be ashamed of the Gospel. Let me spread the good news, and be bold for my Savior. Let me not fear to grow and to change. Let me recall all you have purchased me from and detest it too much to remain in it. Set me free from the weights and the sin, and cause me to run with strength the race set before me.  Search me, oh God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me. Pass me through the fire that I might come forth purified. Let me not be lukewarm, but let my light burn bright and hot for you all of my days. In the name of Jesus my Savior, Amen.

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All that matters

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,[1] and to enjoy him forever.[2]

So says the very first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. This statement of belief has long been held by virtually every conservative denomination since the reformation began. In the London Baptist Confession, the Baptists mirrored the Westminster Confession almost exactly to show that though they differed in some areas, the majority was in direct alignment and unity with the Reformed – We are to give God glory.

Revelation 4:11
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

God is worth to receive glory and in all we do we are to render it to Him.

1 Corinthians 10:31
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

All to God’s glory. Oh, what simple verse to say and to memorize, but do we think what it even means. Do we take a drink for the glory of God, or because we are thirsty? Do we eat because “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” or for the glory of God? It is in this simple motive that we discover there are no gray areas in life. Those supposed moments or middle ground decisions that cannot be judged to be either bad or good quickly become so when passed under the filter of God’s glory.

Proverbs 21:4
“An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.”

Ah, the plowing of the wicked is sin. The simple task that is not even really one of those middle ground tasks, but rather what would be considered a positive good thing. The person is working to supply for himself. He is using the hands and strength God had given him to be a steward of what he has so that it does not go to waste, so that there is provision. He is doing a good thing, and yet it is sin. Why is this the case? Why is it that even when unsaved people appear moral they are not? Why is it when the lost appear to behave better than the saved that they are and will be found guilty before God?

Because all must be done to the glory of God. Without this driving motive in our lives we will find our motive is an idol – anything that has taken God’s place. To take a drink apart from God’s glory says we are not mindful that we belong to Him, that we are not presenting our bodies a living sacrifice which is our reasonable service. To decide between the red cups over the blue cups for the glory of God, we have done good: a good act – one with moral righteousness. God deserves that. God is worthy to receive all glory, and honor, and praise. Romans 14 tells us that to eat or not eat the meat to God’s glory is right; it is he that doubts that is in trouble. To observe the day or not to observe the day, it is not the action that matters in these things but why the action is chosen. Is it chose for the glory of God? Do I act and speak and think for any other purpose? The plowing of the wicked is sin. There is no rightness in anything apart from God’s glory.

How easily we can forget this! How easily we neglect to think about God through our days. How often we sinfully relegate God to a time of “devotions” however long we may make it when God desires and is worth of our every moment. The elders and beasts do not sing that He desires or requires this, but that He is worthy of it. God does require this of us but the greater motivation should be that God is worthy of this. When we see God revealed for who He is, we recognize that He is worthy of our every thought, and motive. He is worthy.

Some things we see as things that are neither right or wrong, but perhaps we are running them through the wrong filter. Are we using the filter of specific commandments? Are we using the filter of Christian liberty? Are we using the filter of the weaker brother? Are we considering God’s glory in it? This last question will take care of the rest, and we might just find that some of the neutral things we are doing are not so neutral.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”