By Patrick Hawthorne
ZEAL, n. Gr., L. Passionate ardor (enthusiasm) in the pursuit of anything. In general, zeal is an eagerness of desire to accomplish or obtain some object, and it may be manifested either in favor of any person or thing, or in opposition to it, and in a good or bad cause. (Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary)
Zeal… I really like that word. It has a real zing to it; a “roll off the tongue” sound that evokes imagery of someone in hot pursuit of something. “In his zeal for the truth, the lawyer pounced like a rabid leopard on the testimony of the defendant.” Ok, that example may have been a bit dramatic, but I believe the point is understandable.
Having zeal or a passion for the things of God is not a bad thing. In truth, zeal for the Lord is a commodity that appears to be in short supply within the Christian community. Yet, unrestrained zeal may actually be more of a hindrance to one’s message than a help. This is true if the zeal is not tempered by the Holy Spirit but by the flesh. This is evident by much of what is seen through social media.
Social media has become one of the fastest growing avenues for people to express their zeal. By the power invested through social media, many have become self-anointed and appointed apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelist by simply having an account. “Oh Lord, I beseech Thee… I need more RAM.”
Some of this writing is coming to you through the spirit of “tongue in cheek.” However, there is much truth in it as well. Thinking that they are serving up a tasty meal of great truths, many let fly a host of misspelled words, incoherent sentences, and accusatory pronouns that are all inclusive rather than focused on the target of the subject. “Well, they should know what I mean,” tends to be their battle cry. As a result, offense is served up as the appetizer followed by the main course consisting of much back peddling to explain the intent of the post. Had the person simply slowed down and actually thought through what it was they wanted to convey, much aggravation and hurt feelings could have been avoided.
Miscommunication is a part of life. However, much miscommunication can be avoided by developing a few simple habits. The main habit is praying before the writing begins. Ask the Holy Spirit if the subject is coming from Him or from you. Secondly, slow down. Think about what it is that you feel the Holy Spirit has placed on your heart. Let Him help you in the delivery of the message. Thirdly, step back for around thirty minutes after you have completed your writing and before submitting it to the world. This amount of time is needed to let your eyes and mind rest. Use this time to pray. Afterwards, read through your writing once again. If there is anything that does not appear to flow smoothly, change it. If it is not smooth to you, it is a guarantee that it will be a stumbling block to your readers. Lastly, never assume the reader knows what is in your heart. It is your responsibility to make clear the contents that flow from your cranium to your writings.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:11 to not be hesitant in diligence but to be boiling in spirit serving the Lord. (from Disciples Literal New Testament). Zeal can be a great thing. Just make sure your zeal points people to Jesus and not away from Him. Be blessed.