Zeal is defined as an enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal and tireless diligence in its furtherance. On a similar note, love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection. Given these two definitions one could easily say that if one loves something or someone that one would also have zeal for that something or someone.
Now, according to Matthew 22: 36-40, Yeshua states that the greatest command God ever gave was to love the Lord your God with all of your heart and all of your soul and with all of your strength and the second greatest command God ever gave was to love your neighbor as yourself. He goes even further to say that everything depends on these two commands. What’s interesting is that these two commands are actually not new. The Lord God ADONAI actually gave these commands in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Since both the Lord God ADONAI and His son, Yeshua, made a point to tell people this don’t you think we should do more than glance over them?
So I ask you: are we living out these two commands?
Unfortunately, more often than not, the answer is no and so I ask, what’s your zeal?
Zeal For the Law
If you have zeal for the law, then you tend to do your best to obey the law. You tend to inadvertently ignore the heart and thereby ignore the motives and intentions behind your actions. You probably have a daily relationship with God, but you tend to try and barter for blessings since you keep all of those pesky laws. Your attention is on the Law and what obeying the Law can get you. In short:
An outward focus
The underlying belief is that the law brings you closer to God
Your focus tends to stay on your actions and the actions of others
You force obedience on yourself and possibly those around you
Zeal for God
If you have zeal for God, then you tend to try to do your best for God. You probably have a daily relationship with God and as that relationship grows you find yourself wanting to understand Him more and as you understand Him more you find yourself surprisingly wanting to obey Him all the more. Your attention is on God and what He can do through you. In short:
An inward focus
The underlying belief is that your relationship with God brings you closer to Him
Your focus shifts to the motives and intentions of your own heart and the hearts of others
Your relationship with God is what makes you want to obey His commands
The Bible states over and over that God is more concerned with the motives and intentions of our hearts than He is with our actual actions. Why? Well, it is the motives and intentions of our hearts that create our actions. An easy and yet still very controversial example is the use of alcohol among Christians. The Bible never explicitly states it is wrong to drink, but it does state it is wrong to get drunk. This might seem contradictory until you look at the intentions behind those actions.
For most people in most situations, the action of having a couple of drinks results from the desire to relax or celebrate; whereas, the action of getting wasted results from a wide array of negative desires. The most common being to run away from a problem, to become someone you are not, or to commit a sin. You know the saying if you have to get drunk to do it then you probably shouldn’t be doing it and you are probably going to regret it to boot. The point is, when you look at the probable intentions behind those two actions it is easier to see why God might not be too concerned about the first and doubly concerned about the second. No parent on this earth wants to see their children behaving in potentially dangerous ways because of stress or ill motives and neither does God, our heavenly Father. I guess to put it another way, if the heart is in the right place then the right actions will ultimately follow.
So my question for you is simple. If you are going to love God and love others in the same way you love yourself, which those of you who follow the Old Testament or the New Testament have been commanded to do… Do you need to have zeal for the law or do you need to have zeal for God? And please, don’t get me wrong because I am not saying the law is bad, but what I am saying is that in order to really know or love someone you do have to know his or her heart, right?