“It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you.” (Galatians 4:18)
Christian, what is your passion? What drives the work of your hands? What motivates you to work tirelessly, sacrificially, painfully and at times unceremoniously? What are you zealous for? Is it for your glory or His? Is it for the name of Jesus, the beloved son, or yours? Is your zeal for the Lord dependent on the circumstance or social setting? Is your zeal for the Lord present when no one else is? Does your zeal for the Lord need anything other than the Gospel for it to manifest in your life? Christian, do you know where you were before Christ? Do you know that you were lost but that by the stripes and wounds of Jesus Christ you have since been found? Do you know what you were saved from? Without Jesus you were destined to never know love, to never know joy, to never know peace and rest. You were slaves before Christ, choosing to obey and serve your sinful nature, but in the name of Jesus you are now free! You are free in Christ never to experience slavery and bondage ever again. Is that enough for you to be zealous? Is that the Gospel to you? Upon knowing this Gospel, why would you ever want to go back? What does that former life have to offer you? Have you forgotten the bondage? Have you forgotten the hopelessness before Christ? As a Christian, Jesus must become your everything because before him you had nothing. There was nothing of any enduring worth or value before Jesus. In Jesus, your Savior, you are now truly alive. Don’t go back without an honest reflection of your life before Jesus. Don’t move forward without an honest reflection of your motivation and purpose for serving in the name of Jesus. The Gospel declares that you are alive because of Jesus and therefore everything you do is so that his name, the only name, can become greater while yours continually becomes less. There is no other way. This is the way.
A reborn spirit is a giving spirit. The spirit of Jesus gave everything he had to the point of death. Therefore, with the spirit of Jesus living in us as a new creation, we are aligned with and we manifest his sacrificial love in our own lives. Christian giving can be reduced to doctrine and it is indeed a requirement for a Christian to give. However, the giving heart and the Christian life need more than doctrine.
Just as the law was merely an instrument used to teach Paul that he was a sinner because he could never follow the commandments, so is the doctrine of the gospel to us. Rebuke the religious spirit that reduces the life, death and resurrection of Jesus to simple dos and don’ts. Jesus shows us the way but only by the power of the Holy Spirit in us can we ever manage to follow the way laid out for us. Christian, you give because God gave everything to you. He gave his son, for you. Christian, you give because in Jesus you have an eye for need. You seek out need and you desire to see a need fulfilled. You have been abundantly blessed and you rejoice in the blessing of others. Christian, you give because what you own or possess is not your own. No matter how hard you have worked for it. Ultimately, your possessions are investments. They are anointed and Holy loans. God has given you what you have so that you can reinvest in the kingdom of God. Not the kingdom of you. Christian, you give what you have with confidence that God knows your heart. He knows how much and how little you have. He knows how much is easy and how much hurts. He knows how much you promised to give and how much you are recalculating and reassessing not to give. Christian, remember that you are working with God. Not against him. You are working toward a beautiful investment and profit for you and the eternal kingdom of our living God and to the name of Jesus. Remember that when you pray in confidence that the sovereignty of God over your unpredictable future is good, so is His sovereign goodness over your finite and often limited amount of money and things.