Last week I met a woman from West Texas who I saw reading the Bible. Hoping to engage her in a conversation about God’s Word I asked her about what she was reading. With unabashed excitement, she proceeded to tell me that God had been talking to her and He had guided her into understanding that Ezekiel was actually writing about the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. She asked me what I thought. I told her that I believed that the Old Testament was written to point the world to Jesus Christ. She kind of looked at me funny and then proceeded to launch back into telling me that God’s main concern was with the United States of America and that the Old Testament prophets were speaking to her about it. In her opinion, America is doomed if we don’t embrace the words of the prophets and repent. She gave me a business card that included her website so I could read more about what she believed.
This lady seemed to be as nice a person as she could be. I have no doubt in my mind that if I had asked her to help me with some need, say $20 bucks to put gas in my car, she would have helped me without a second thought. I don’t think for a moment that she wasn’t clear thinking or that she was impaired in any way. I believe that she is as sincere as she could possibly be. It is obvious that she is full of zeal yet, as Paul said of Israel in Romans 10:2, “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.”
The truth is that under the umbrella of Christendom, there are countless numbers of people like this lady I met last week; people who couldn’t be more fired up, couldn’t be energized, couldn’t be more zealous for the Lord. However, while their zeal is admirable, their knowledge is lacking. For any number of reasons they are not informed of the truth. There are like a preacher by the name of Apollos. In Acts 18:24,25, Apollos is described this way: “He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.” Apollos had zeal, but he didn’t have knowledge. It wasn’t until Priscilla and Aquila “took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately” that Apollos was able to combine his fervor for the Lord with knowledge of the Lord.
The purpose of this article is not to criticize the woman I met last week or others like her. Instead, my point here is just the opposite. I greatly admire her single minded desire to share what she believes is the truth. She was willing to engage a complete stranger and she did so with utter boldness and confidence. It didn’t bother her a bit if I disagreed or was uncomfortable. She had a message to share and she was going to share it.
To be honest, I am much more worried about those who have the truth but don’t have the passion to let that truth consume them and drive their lives. I am more troubled by those who have the gift of God but will not boldly and courageously share that gift with the world. For while Jesus makes it clear in Matthew 7:21-23 that many who thought they knew the truth will not enter into the kingdom of heaven, I shudder to think of the judgment that will come upon those who knew the truth but lacked the fervor to proclaim it.
Muslims demand that businesses, colleges and even entire countries give in to their demands regarding their religion. Some of them are so full of zeal that they murder those who they perceive as offending Islam. Yet, while I obviously disagree with their religion and their tactics, I have to wonder why they can be so zealous for their false religion while Christians, who have the real truth, stand by and watch the world stomp all over our beliefs and don’t even lift a finger or utter a protest. In fact, many even vote for politicians who have pretty much painted a bulls-eye on people of faith. Why are we so silent and docile when we have the truth and the power that can literally change people’s live and transform the world?
I met a woman last week who knew not the truth, but whose example of zeal was one that God opened my eyes to see. I have been convicted. I know that I need to do a better job of letting the world know that I believe in Jesus and that He is the Lord of my life. I have the truth and I intend to share it. I won’t change the world, but what I know about Jesus can change one life at a time.
Are you ready to combine your knowledge with zeal?