A Goal for Good Coffee and Zeal for the Lord
As I write this blog today, July 24th, it was brought to my attention that it is an important day in coffee history. On this day in 1777 woman rioted because price gouging on coffee began to happen because there were shortages and business men began hoarding coffee to drive up prices. The women got together, made a plan, set a goal, and faced these business men to hold them accountable for not price gouging. How true is this? Not sure, it was found on the internet, but it sounds like something women would do because they love their coffee.
A few of my good women friends and I have set a goal as well. We have been working toward completing a “triathlon sprint”. Basically, it is a much shorter version of a triathlon, but still tough. We had to set some goals for getting ready for this event. We began riding our bikes 10 miles and competing with our own times, as well as swimming 500 meters and running 2 miles. We each found that we had a strength and a weakness in one area or another. Our plan included focusing on the weakest event and working a bit harder. We held each other accountable by reporting on what work we did each day and cheered each other on. We truly began to have a zeal for each event and working towards this goal.
As we continue discussing having a zeal for the Lord, I realized that it can be much like having a zeal for these workouts. What I mean is, that we each had a weariness in continuing these workouts. We each grow weary and lost our zeal for doing the good work that it takes to complete this triathlon. Weariness and lack of zeal are constant struggles on the pathway to living this type of life for Christ. In the past few blogs, you have been given some suggestions on how to keep your zeal and they will help if you remain diligent, but I believe that God’s grace and having grace for ourselves when we lose the zeal, are important to remember. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.” God’s grace for us when we do lose our zeal is always there and always a place to fall on when we get weary.
The enemy will always be on the prowl to put schemes into place that take control when we begin to lose our zeal. He will be quick to put into place lies that tell us we cannot compete or continue our good work for the Lord because it is too hard. He will be there putting fears into our hearts telling us that our work for the Lord will be made fun of, that we will lose friends if we have such a zeal for the Lord. He will tell us that our family will not approve and will be disappointed in us.
The enemy is great at throwing temptations into our lives that will take away our zeal. He will put into place events that will take the place of a Bible study you wanted to attend. He will tempt us with scrolling through Facebook rather than doing our Bible study or reading our devotional. He will tempt us with busyness that will take us away from our Christ following sisters and into the lives of people who do not follow Christ.
He loves to spread gossip into our lives that cause us to engage in dangerous talk about others rather than using our zeal to uplift the people in our lives rather than tearing them down.
Oh, he is a crafty one. But our God is so very strong and so very merciful that by serving the fiery spirit of God, we can overcome the enemy by, “fanning into flames the gift of God”! (2 Tim 1:6)
We learned that the word zeal can mean “to boil”. We talked about boiling over for the Lord and being on fire for him. This is such a great feeling when we are in a season when we are all in for Christ. But knowing that these seasons can be disrupted, we need to know what to do when it happens.
Water does not boil itself. It boils because we place it near flame or on high heat. This is why we need to stay close to the heat of Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches so much about zeal for the Lord because He knew it would be a struggle for us. God wanted to have information for us in his Word because he knew we would need the help and encouragement when it became tough to keep our zeal for Him. Romans 12:11 is the verse we have been using as an anchor for our study on zeal. Again, it says, “Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder.” (Romans 12: 11-12 Msg).
We need to stay close to the flame of Jesus Christ. We need to set goals and continue in the hard times. We must pray, study, worship, praise. Because our God is so faithful to never leave us we must be faithful to continue to do his will on Earth; to continue in zeal. Do you really have a true attachment for this cause? This might be a question to ask yourself and to really think about. If it is easy for you to be thrown off track or to lose your zeal quickly, do you really pine for what Jesus has to offer you?
I’d like to offer three more suggestions on how to keep your zeal:
1. Create a plan and set a goal. When will you study? Pray? Spend time with the Lord? Spend time with other people who love the Lord and have a zeal for him. What is your actual "workout for God" plan? Write it down. Ask your family to respect this time even if it is only 10 mins. Begin to create a structured time with God. Also, go back and look at the previous suggestions from the other blogs on how to have and keep your zeal.
2. Take a good look at how you serve the Lord. Sometimes we need to take a look at God’s eternal plan and what it looks like for this world. How do you serve in your community? In what ways are you serving other people in order for them to know the love of the Lord? We can become lukewarm in our zeal when we stop seeing our lives in the larger context of what God is doing in the world. Maybe it is time to find an area of service that fits your life and begin to serve God in order to increase your zeal.
3. Persevere in hard times. We will reap the rewards if we do not give up. There will be times when we don’t feel God’s fiery heat. Persevering requires you stay in the fight and continue with your plan, no matter how lukewarm you may be feeling. Persevering requires that you put in the time even when you don’t feel like it because when you don’t feel like it, some other force is causing you to feel like doing something else. Stay the course because choosing to step towards God’s great grace will produce only goodness in your life. Galatians 6:9, “Do not grow weary of doing good."
My friends and I are not quite ready for the triathlon, but we are getting closer. God’s grace sees you moving towards a stronger relationship with him when you stay near the heat. He understands that our zeal may wane. Yet, he expects that we will do our best to stay diligent. We are not perfect, we are not quite ready to be masters, but we can continue our zeal by purposely working towards getting closer.
Now grab your favorite cup of hot beverage. Try oat milk if you are having coffee, so creamy and good. Make your plan and begin to mature in your walk with Christ and the zeal you have for his grace. You will be rewarded.