I read a story that the young Teddy Roosevelt was afraid to go into church on his own. The reason why? In there somewhere lurked a monster, possibly a dragon or an alligator that would try to gobble him up. This monster was called the Zeal of the Lord. Teddy’s mum got to the bottom of this thinking by trying to find out what young Teddy had heard in church. It turned out that the young boy was terrified because of the part in John’s gospel after Jesus has overturned the market-traders in the temple.
John 2:17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
Cute story – I don’t know if it is true or not. Jesus behaviour at the temple for many was outrageous, but he was so consumed by honouring God that he just could bear the corruption in a place of prayer no longer. Last night I was lying in bed asking myself the question ‘Am I consumed?’ Am I so passionate for God that every aspect of my life is devoted to Him? My answer wasn’t so nice, but is honest. I don’t think I’m consumed, I think I am a consumer. So often we pick and choose which aspect of our faith we want to take part in – like shopper in a supermarket, we select the things we want and leave the rest on the shelf. ‘Oh, perhaps today I will try a bit of prayer, but fasting I don’t fancy that much.’ ‘Tithing, that seems like s great idea, but it is not in the budget this week, maybe another time’. So often we pick and choose how far we will go in our faith, so rarely do we allow it to consume us.
Paul said that everything except Jesus was rubbish.
Philippians 3:8-15 Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant–dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ 9 and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ–God’s righteousness. 10 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. 11 If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. 12 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. 13 Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus. 14 I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. 15 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision–you’ll see it yet! (The Message)
Lord, let me give up my whole life to you. Let me be consumed and not a just consumer.