Can Coffee Increase Your Zeal for the Lord?
My zeal for coffee is undeniable. I turn to it when I am feeling down and it uplifts me. I enjoy it with friends and it adds happiness to our time together. I drink it when I am cold, hot, hungry, thirsty. You could say I have a zeal for coffee.
Zeal is not a word that we hear used very often. The Oxford Dictionary defines zeal as, “great energy and enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective.” If you know me, you would say, “Yes, Susan has enthusiasm in pursuit of good coffee.” There is not much else I have this much zeal for except our Lord Jesus Christ. I would say, though, an overwhelming zeal for the Lord.
Over the Fourth of July I spent time with my brother in Bozeman, MT. I try to get up to see him a couple of times a year because I enjoy spending time with him and his wife. They are beautiful examples of people who have a zeal for the Lord. I used my sister-in-law’s picture for this blog because I took it after she had had a very long and stressful two days and had made herself a cup of fresh, hot coffee before she laid down for a nap. She looked so much, like she was enjoying this cup of coffee that I couldn’t help but snap a picture.
You see, she had just returned from the hospital where my brother had been for the past two days. He had fallen off a ladder and was seriously injured.
During this trip the presence of the Holy Spirit filled their house and his hospital room. The Lord was working in every area of my brother’s life at this time and His presence was palpable. This couple has an amazing amount of zeal for the Lord and it is seen in all they do.
So, what does this mean exactly. I think using this story, that just so happened to be perfect for this blog post, is a great way to explain zeal.
In Romans12:11 the Apostle Paul writes to the Romans about their behavior. He says, “never be lacking in zeal, but keep our spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Paul believed that the way the Romans behaved should be shown in everything they did, said, heard, saw. In their fervent belief in Christ, they should show their faith in every action and the way they conducted themselves. He wanted these people who were professing Christ as their Savoir to give themselves up to the All Mighty, and by doing this their life would show all things that are good and lovely. They were to do their work diligently with a fervent soul and to be diligent in helping others see the necessity and the great grace of Christ.
For us to conduct our lives with zeal we must live literally “boiling over” with Christ. This is what God desires for our lives. He desires for us to be so filled with him that we are boiling over with love for others, love for our work, love for our family, love for serving and giving. God wants our lives to boil over with the grace that he has given us so that each moment brings glory to him.
If we were to work to long at a job we didn’t like we may feel a heavy weight upon us. It may not be an example of zeal for our job. In contrast, if we have a zeal for the Lord then working for him should feel like our temperature is rising and we are ready to pop with excitement. This is true zeal for our one and only grace filled Father.
So how does this apply to my brother’s situation? When the accident first occurred my sister-in-law instantly praised God that he was not killed. Next, she was full of praise that she had been prompted to pray for him for quite some time about God interceding on my brother’s behalf to slow down in his work. She then went to prayer for all the things you can imagine she would want to ask for. But, to begin with, she praised God with zeal. Praised Him for his goodness in their lives at all times. Praised Him for his salvation in both of their lives. Praised Him that my husband and I were there to help take some of the burden off of her. Praise, praise, praise. ZEAL!
When I first saw my brother in the hospital, he wanted to talk about how great it was that he had had this unquenchable thirst for the last few months to work out and play racquetball. He had been doing so, with zeal, for months and months and felt so strong. His praise to God, and even the fact that he noticed this gift from God displays his zeal for the Lord. The doctor had already told him that because of this exercise routine, his healing would be easier. Not easy, but easier. He has already been through one broken back incident in his lifetime and to have to endure another could certainly be debilitating and cause one to go instantly to a place of self-pity and despair. Instead, my brother looked for the good things that had occurred prior to the accident. This is not to say that he hasn’t thought about why this was happening again, but when he does, he also goes to the place that he might be used for Christ in this situation and that it would be to His glory. My brother’s zeal for the Lord includes doing things for other people so that they may see God’s glory. In this accident, he will be able to continue to do that.
Zeal for the Lord is never losing sight of what God has done for you. Zeal for the Lord is always looking to Him for answers, insight, knowledge. Zeal for the Lord is praising Him in the difficult times as well as the good times. Zeal for the Lord is never giving up that something good is going to happen in a difficult situation.
My brother calls his wife a saint because through all of this, she had a smile on her face. This was not a fake mask in order to get others to believe she was strong, this was just a calm, slight smile, with gentle words every time she was spoken to. Has she cried about the circumstances? Yes, she has, but in the crying, she has praised God, prayed the scripture regarding God’s healing powers, called on His name because she knows his ways are always good.
What does your zeal for the Lord look like? When you are working through a difficult time or dealing with a difficult circumstance is your life boiling over with Christ? Are you able to show your faith in the way you conduct yourself, always remembering to praise God in all things? (1 Peter 4:11)
How do you go about your Christian life? God asks us to go about it with zeal. He does not ask us to read and study his Word now and then, pray when you have time, go to church at Christmas and Easter. God wants us to go about our life with the zeal, the fire, that Christ had while he walked on this earth. There should not be a Christian life without fervor, simply because of what Christ did on the cross. Our lives should represent a life that has been saved by a God who died a violent death so that we can live in eternity.
It's time, friends. It’s time to live with a boiling fire for Christ. This may include coffee, although I don’t know that it will increase your zeal for the Lord, but for me it sure gives me the energy to keep working at it. Maybe, soda or simply flavored water works for you.
Whatever it takes, it should begin with a roaring praise for a life given for us and a zeal in all that we do. Begin to practice this zeal. Begin to boil over for Christ in all that you do. Show this hurting world that zeal for the Lord is the hope that they are missing.