Are You Zealous?

by Crystal Bowman

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:13-14 NKJV

The word zealous can be found a few times in the Bible depending on which translation you read. It’s not a word we use much these days, especially in casual conversation. To be zealous means to be dedicated and committed to something with all your heart. It means you have a great desire or passion to be part of something you believe in.

Some people are zealous about sports and competition. Olympic hopefuls train 25 hours a week for 10-20 years before qualifying for an event. Others may be zealous about music and performing. Becoming a professional singer involves a long career path. It takes years to properly develop a voice and many begin taking voice lessons as children. Still others may devote their time and energy to an organization or worthy cause.

The Apostle Paul was an enemy of Jesus until Jesus spoke to him while he was traveling to Damascus. Paul soon became a Christian and spent the rest of his life telling people that Jesus was the Savior the Jewish people were looking for. Paul was zealous about sharing his faith in Jesus with everyone he met. 

Titus was one of Paul’s followers and a leader in the church. The book of Titus in the Bible is a letter Paul wrote to Titus to help people understand more about Jesus and how he wants us to live. Paul tells Titus that as we wait for Jesus to return, we should be zealous about loving others and doing good deeds in the name of Jesus. That message is for us too, and as I reflect on my commitments, priorities, and activities, I try to identity what I am zealous about.  

I’m zealous about spending time with my grandkids and making the most of every opportunity I have with them. My heart is filled with joy as I indulge in creative play, reading stories, or snuggling on the sofa. I’m also zealous about writing. I am usually well aware of what time it is, even without looking at a clock. But when my fingers are on the keyboard, I get so immersed in my writing that hours seem like minutes. 

As I examine my life during this pandemic season, I pray that I can be zealous about sharing my faith and doing good deeds in the name of Jesus, even if it means doing things differently. I can read a Bible story or picture book to my grandsons in Texas over Facetime or Skype since I cannot visit them. I can leave a bag of kids’ books on my neighbor’s front porch so she can read them to her preschooler and new baby. I can send a card to my sister-in-law who was unable to have a funeral for her mother who passed away. And I can call my friend in Florida who is a recent widow to help fill a lonely Saturday evening with some long-distance conversation.   

As we wait for this pandemic to pass, and as we wait for the return of Jesus, there are many ways we can share the love of Jesus with others. We can be zealous—even if it’s a word we don’t use anymore.  

Are You Zealous? – insight and encouragement from Crystal Bowman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)  

About the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids.She and her husband have three married children and seven huggable grandchildren.

Ten percent of women struggle with infertility. Mothers In Waiting—Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms contains 30 hope-filled stories from contributors like Valorie Burton, Katie Norris, and Shay Shull, whose journeys through infertility and miscarriage to adoption and miracle births will buoy your faith. You don’t have to suffer alone.

Join the conversation: What are you zealous about in your life?

Am I A Follower Of The Way?

by Sheri Schofield

The sun was shining and gusts of winds whipped the long grass into rolling, silver-green waves in the meadow. Coming down the road on horseback were two riders. Horses that had been pastured at the upper end of the meadow reared their heads, whinnied, and trotted down toward the riders. The pasture fence let them get six feet from the dirt road. They horses stood with their necks outstretched, nickering to the passing ponies, eager to make a social contact but socially distanced by the fence.

I smiled. “I know exactly how you feel!” I thought. This social distancing thing was getting very old. I missed my friends! But a virus sweeping across the nation had forced us all to keep our distance. Waving when we saw each other just wasn’t enough contact!

Early Christians felt much of the same impatience when they met each other in the streets of Rome. A glance and a slight nod were about all they could share in the city hostile to these believers in Jesus. Those who were known to be Christians were sometimes captured and placed in the center of the Coliseum, where lions were loosed to tear them apart.  Or they were crucified and hung around the city so all could watch them die. So to keep each other safe, they restricted their meetings to the underground graves of Rome, the catacombs.

One by one, they would slip into the caverns, carefully making sure that they were not seen by spies. One by one, they made their way to the secret meeting. There in the dark, lit only by torches, they could hug one another and exchange heartfelt greetings.

Their lives depended upon secrecy. They identified each other at times by drawing a fish in the dust. The fish was the symbol they had adopted for identification. If the person to whom they were talking would also draw a fish, the believer would know that they had found a fellow disciple of Jesus.

In the early days of the church, these disciples of Jesus were known as Followers of the Way. It wasn’t until Paul brought the good news of Jesus to Antioch, which is in current-day Turkey, that believers were called “Christians”. As Jesus had said before he left earth for heaven, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” John 13:35, NIV. And they did.

The early Followers of the Way were willing to give up everything for Jesus. Their lives were dedicated to obeying God’s Word, the Bible. They loved each other so much that many were willing to die for each other. Many laid down their lives for the name of Jesus, whom they loved and served. They were committed.

How are we doing in that area? Can others tell that we are Jesus’ disciples because of our love for one another? Are we living in obedience to Jesus, who laid down his life for us? Are we Followers of the Way?

In the current body of Christ experiencing suffering in other countries, love and loyalty grow bright and personal bickering fades away. Times of fellowship once again become precious. Those who truly believe in Jesus are committed Followers of the Way. Their obedience to the Word is strong and their love for Jesus is pure. 

We’ve just had a taste of what it means to be separated from fellow believers. Let us reunite now with a lasting resolve to love one another more dearly than ever before! We are also Followers of the Way.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony, Colossians 3:14, NLT

Am I A Follower Of The Way? – insight & encouragement from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofield

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the Conversation: How important is fellowship and love for the body of Christ to you?