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Zeal

I like to keep an eye out for unusual or different stories. It helps me when writing for the Crossroads Compass every week and in collecting sermon illustrations. Sometimes, the headlines are funnier or more interesting than the stories. Here are a few poorly worded examples of real life headlines:

  • Fish need water, study says
  • Homicide victims rarely talk to police
  • Planes forced to land at airports
  • Bridges help people cross river
  • Federal agents raid gun shop, find weapons
  • Woman missing since she got lost
  • City unsure why the sewer smells
  • Students cook and serve Grandparents (this one needs some extra punctuation)

The one I liked best was “Rally against apathy draws small crowd.” Apparently, a lot of people wanted to go, but just couldn’t be bothered to attend.

Apathy has never been seen as a virtue. Often in scripture, it is connected to sloth and laziness. It refers to a lack of interest or concern, a detachment to the issues at hand. Historically, apathy in Christians was seen as a deficiency of love and devotion towards God. We are encouraged to be the opposite: full of zeal.

Paul says in Romans 12:11, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” This is a challenging command. Paul is telling us to give ourselves 100% to life in God. We are called to stay passionate about our relationship with the Lord.

How can we do that? How do we remain full of zeal? Thankfully, Paul adds a few exhortations in verse 12: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (12:12) Rather than trying to work up some extra zeal, why not focus on those three things today and see what happens? Be joyful, patient, and faithful in prayer. That’s how we keep our spiritual fervor.

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