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Zeal Without Knowledge

“Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” –Philippians 3:6

Remember the stir caused by Promise Keepers a short time ago? Their rallies filled football stadiums. Everywhere you turned, you heard or read about them. One of their leaders stated that they planned to be in every church in the nation whether that church wanted them there or not.

But where are the Promise Keepers now? They disappeared from view almost as quickly as they came in. Other things have already come in to take their place. The enthusiasm of the moment quickly dissipated into dust.

We often equate zeal with holiness and enthusiasm with revival. When people are emotionally stirred, it must be of God. And, although the Christian should be zealous, zeal itself is not holy. Paul warned the Galatians of those who zealously affected them, “but not well” (Galatians 4:17). They were enthusiastically heading in the wrong direction.

Paul knew personally of these dangers. He had been so full of zeal in the practice of his religion that he had persecuted the church (Philippians 3:6). He was ready to kill others because of his religious beliefs. Perhaps that sounds like some groups you know of today.

Be zealous and enthusiastic in your service to God; or, as the Bible says, be “fervent in spirit” (Romans 12:11). However, do not classify all zeal as spiritual. Search your own heart to know from whence your zeal comes. Is it from God? Does it lead you to greater heights for Him? Don’t be like the wrecking crew that tore down the well-constructed building. They carefully planned the job. They placed each explosive perfectly. The job went off without a hitch. The crew cheered as the entire building flattened out into a pile of rubble and dust. Then they found out it was the wrong building.