You have likely heard the expression, “Charge Hell with a squirt gun”. It is often used to show the zeal of a Christian, who is eager to go all out for serving the Lord. It begs the question though, “is zeal wrong?” Is it wrong to be impassioned about something and have an overwhelming zeal to accomplish it?
In Joshua twenty two we find a very telling story about the spiritual disposition of Israel at the time. The two and a half tribes on the East side of Jordan were allowed to return home to their families. Upon their return they built an altar to remind their children that they belonged to the Children of Israel. The altar, Ed, was meant as a marker and memorial that they were one nation, not divided.
The message must have not been received well, because the other nine tribes prepared for war. Without a moment’s notice they were roused with their zeal for the Lord’s holiness. The altar was seen as an act of unholiness and treason because they believed the two and a half tribes intended to offer sacrifice there.
The nine tribes of Israel cited events like Peor and Ai as indicators that a small portions sins can affect the entire nation. They were zealous to keep the promises they made to the Lord, and these rebels were not going to mess it up.
Thankfully this zeal was coupled with wisdom. An inquiry was made, and the misunderstanding discovered. What those on the West saw as a threat, those on the East created as a marker of faith and devotion. No bloodshed occurred because zeal was combined with the wisdom of God.
Unfortunately, many disasters are not averted when zeal alone exist. Someone on fire for the Lord witnesses another believer exercising liberty, and instead of using wisdom, tact, patience, and understanding, they plow through leaving destruction in their wake.
As a teen, I had to learn this the hard way. I had my standards, and everyone else needed to come up to my level. Honestly, I believe I had good intent. I wanted to be holy, I wanted others to be holy, and I wanted to exalt the holiness of God. In my zeal of God’s holiness, I completely threw out Godly and Biblical wisdom. I cringe now when I look back and see the brothers and sisters in Christ I offended over the pettiest things. If wisdom had been coupled with my zeal many may have benefited from it.
Nothing is wrong with zeal, but zeal alone can lead to hearsay and pride quickly. If you are on fire for the Lord right now, and “charging Hell with a squirt gun”, GREAT! Don’t lose the fire. I believe we need more of this passion in believers. But, a word of caution, always couple your zeal with love, compassion, and Biblical wisdom. It will always accomplish more with these added ingredients.
Make a choice to day to be zealous for God according to wisdom. Charge Hell with a super soaker, and by your wisdom encourage others to pick up their water guns along the way. If your zeal discourages and drives away it might not be from the Lord.
Daily Scripture Reading
Joshua 22 - 24
“And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.”