You Are an Inspiration
2 Corinthians 9:2
For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
Zeal is having a strong passion and enthusiasm for something. Paul said that the zeal of the church of Corinth provoked very many. In other words, their passion and enthusiasm for helping others through financial giving was an inspiration that caused others to start giving. Their zeal in this area influenced many for good. However, what if they had a zeal for something wrong? If they had a zeal for something wrong, they still would have been an inspiration to many for wrong. It was what this church was zealous for that inspired people to do right.
You choose what you are zealous about. Everyone is zealous about something, and your zeal inspires others for good or bad. Many parents have inspired their children to do wrong because they were zealous about the wrong thing. Likewise, many parents have inspired their children to do the right thing because they were zealous about the right things. You see, your zeal does inspire others because your life influences others; therefore, it is critical to have a zeal for the things of God to inspire people for righteousness. Let me share several areas where you should be zealous.
First, you should have a zeal for God’s Word. You will never go wrong by being passionate and enthusiastic about God’s Word. You can never read too much of God’s Word, and you can never obey God’s Word too much. Being zealous for God’s Word will inspire others to want to read it and obey it. I would rather inspire others to read God’s Word than inspire them to read man’s words. Nothing wrong with reading books, but the one book that should be the primary source of our reading should be God’s Word.
Second, you should have a zeal for walking with God. A passion and enthusiasm to walk with God in prayer always influences others for right. Moses had a zeal to walk with God in prayer, and that zeal produced God’s reflection on his countenance that others could see. I would rather be zealous for walking with God in prayer and reflect God’s image to those around me than be zealous to walk with others and reflect the world’s mindset and lifestyle.
Third, you should have a zeal for righteousness. Phinehas had a zeal for righteousness, and it influenced others to start doing right. There is nothing wrong with being zealous to do right. Just because a cold-hearted, backslidden believer says you are too zealous for righteousness and need to tone it down a bit does not mean that you should let their coldness influence your zeal. We would change this world for good if we had more believers who were zealous for righteousness.
Fourth, you should have a zeal for souls. You will be criticized for being a zealous soul winner, but the Pharisees criticized Christ for reaching souls as well. Let the Pharisees criticize, but having a passion for souls will influence others to win souls. How can influencing others to be soul winners be a bad thing? Is there a Hell? Because Hell is real, it is good to be zealous for the souls of mankind. I am sure to reach more people for Christ by having a zeal for souls than I ever will by being a Pharisee that criticizes a soul winner. Get a zeal for reaching souls, for that zeal will provoke very many to become soul winners.