The Bare Soul - January 27, 2013
The Real Zeal

Psalm 69:9 - For zeal for Your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.

What are we passionate about? One does not need to look further than weekend sporting events, where collegiate and professional sports fans are bedecked in their teams colors. (Often, this may be in the form of body paint rather than conventional clothing, despite freezing conditions!) There is a loyalty that seems unrivaled when you get someone talking about their team allegiance. For nearly a century, we have had a "border war," of sorts between Tigers and Jayhawks where I live. Even though this rivalry is no longer played out in conference play, the enmity still simmers waiting only for a way to express itself. While some might chide at this type of good-spirited competition, passionate allegiance is hard-wired into every individual to some degree. If it does not find its expression through sports, it will find another way.

God probably cares little if we are passionate about sports, per se. He understands we need recreation as human beings and undoubtedly allows this as a form of escape from the anxiety of daily living. However, He does not want this to fulfill His divine plan for passionate pursuit of Him. Along with this pursuit comes our attitude and desire for Him and the things of the His Spirit. In this regard, I have sometimes heard people say that a person can become so heavenly-minded they are no earthly good. Personally, I have yet to find such a person. The opposite is usually the rule rather than the exception. We become so passionately wrapped up in our own lives and the pursuit of our own creature comforts that we do not even think of heaven.

King David understood passionate pursuit of God. We have scores of psalms attributed to this ancient Israelite in this regard. Possibly some of his contemporaries believed David was a bit "over the top" in his pursuit of Yahweh. What often appears as religious fanaticism to the world, can be the zeal and passion of a believer for the God who lives within. Certainly this was manifest a thousand years later when Jesus fulfilled this prophetic psalm as he cleansed the temple of His Father (John 2:17). Purity of the actual Davidic (constructed by Solomon) and Herodian temples is the literal application of this verse in Psalm 69:19. However, we know from Paul's writings how the temple of the Lord in the New Covenant is our body -- the vessel of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 3:16).

It is a wonderful ambition to keep our bodies pure, both in what we consume and what we allow it to do. As already mentioned, our lead verse speaks to us about the temple of the Lord and how He lives within -- not only in our bodies but also in ouur souls and spirits. In this regard, may we all be challenged with the following question: Are we consumed with what God thinks about His living quarters within us? Or, are we ashamed when we participate in some conversation, or watch some movie, or when we go somewhere He would not approve? He is our guest yet so many of us treat Him like a hobo in a flophouse! The great nineteenth century preacher Charles Spurgeon aptly stated, "yet it is no disgrace to any generous spirit that is regenerate, to have the zeal of God's house to eat him up. It is a slander to call it folly."

Do we sit on our hands at church on Sunday mornings and then raucously shout and dance when our team makes the big score that afternoon? When we have a zeal for the God who dwells within, then we will become partakers of the reproach of the world. Is no one reproaching us for our zeal? Then possibly we have none. May we all live passionately and fervently for the One who dwells within.

Father, help us to be passionate about living, yet not forget the One who we live for. May our passion for the things we love pale in respect for the zeal we have for You. Grant us hearts of fire and mouths that speak Your praise. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

 

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