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Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Romans 12:11

The Apostle Paul admonishes us to keep up the energy level in our lives. If you have ever been around a new Christian you have an idea of what he is talking about. Someone who has just accepted Christ into their lives seem to manage to include Him in every conversation. They are excited about the new life they have found and have a peace that nothing can shatter.

Then, gradually, that fervor fades. Sometimes old habits start to show up. Old life style issues raise their ugly heads, and soon it’s hard to tell the difference between them and the rest of the world. Paul tells us to keep that fervor. Keep that excitement. Constantly remind yourself of what Jesus did on the cross for you.

That’s easy to say, but sometimes reality deals us some ugly blows. Perhaps the biggest thing that can be a ‘zeal zapper’ is our own failure to conquer bad habits or addictions in our lives. “Jesus heals. Jesus forgives. So why can’t I stop smoking, swearing, looking at porn, etc. etc.” We keep adding ‘things’ to our list to try to do better but nothing works. With each failure on our part the enemy reminds us that we aren’t worthy. He’ll tell us we aren’t really Christians. He’ll remind us that God is displeased with us. (By the way, that’s a lie. God is never displeased with us. He may be displeased with our actions but NEVER us.)

Another Zeal Zapper is the comparison game. We look at how others in our groups, churches, etc. have ‘mastered the Christian walk.’ Some of them even (not so grace-fully) tell us how we too can be just like them. We fill our lives with all sorts of activities to try to be better and only end up wanting to give up all together or suffering emotional, physical and spiritual fatigue. We lose heart when we realize we simply can not be like them. (Did I mention that God never tells us to be like other people? He tells us to follow Him and He is NOT a cookie-stamper God).

Zeal Zapper number three is disappointment with other people. Sometimes our expectations of others falls short when we put too much faith in them. Sometimes our expectations are shattered beyond recognition by the way we are treated by  Zeal Zapping, Grace killing Christians who feel it is their duty to make sure you follow their ten easy steps to spirituality. There was only one person perfect enough for us to emulate. Stop trying to live up to the standards you place on yourself or others place on you. Allow your relationship with Jesus Christ to form your identity. Then, press on along the journey of life knowing that whether you walk confidently or stumble, Jesus is at your side guiding you all the way.

Zeal Zapper number four is disappointment with God. Your Heavenly Father loves you dearly. Sometimes He doesn’t do things the way we expect or want. Sometimes God’s ways are just plain confusing! But His ways are the best ways. Trust means that we give God permission to place whatever He chooses in our way in order to make us more reliant on Him.

Don’t let the Zeal Zappers take away the joy you have in Christ. Failure will come. Disappointment will happen. But He is always there wanting to encourage and energize you for whatever life places in your way.

PRAYER: Father God. I’m tired. I’m tired of trying to live by other peoples standards. I’m tired of trying to measure up to what I think you want instead of growing in relationship. I’m tired of being judged by others who seem to think they know all the answers to the easy spiritual life. I ask that you would forgive me for trying human things to accomplish divine results. Empower me with Your Spirit to live grace-fully for you. In Jesus name, Amen.


For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4:1

Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I have the tendency to hesitate to ask for help. It doesn’t matter how heavy the object is to lift or how hard the task is, if there is any way I can do it on my own I’ll do it! I’ve had plenty of sore backs and pulled muscles to prove it!

The ridiculous part about being driven to do things by ourselves is that it often causes physical pain, frustration and even damage to people and property. Still each of us is inclined to risk our physical and emotional health to do things on our own.

Sometimes we do that because we see the need for help as a sign of weakness. Sometimes we do it ourselves because we have that ‘pride thing’ going on inside us that says: (1) My way is the best way; and (2) No one can do it as well as I can!

What is true for us in the physical realm can also be true in the spiritual realm. In fact the two intersect in some ways. Those of us that are Christ-followers agree that we are sinners and willingly rest on God’s promise of forgiveness and grace for our eternal lives. However, for some reason, if we aren’t careful we think that once we receive this ‘free gift’ of grace we need to work hard to keep it or earn it.

We do this by taking responsibility to make sure our job is right, our kids are healthy and responsible, or homes are fancy and well kept, we have all the right toys and latest gadgets. We even work hard to make sure our ministry or church is stronger, larger and has more technology than the people across the street. Not all of these things are bad unless they become the sole reason for our existence. When they become all we live for then frustration sets in because we can’t possible achieve all we want!

Jesus says, in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus isn’t necessarily talking about physical rest here. He’s telling all of us who are spiritually tired and emotionally spent that we can come to Him for rest. He wants to comfort us and encourage us when we are struggling to keep afloat.

One of the mysteries of our human existence is that when we are at peace with ourselves on the inside, the things that bring stress on the outside aren’t as powerful. When I allow Jesus to completely control my thoughts, my attitudes and my feelings about people, places and things I have the strength to endure the attacks that are thrown at me.

God’s rest is both present and eternal. His rest gives us freedom to live life to the fullest while we are here on earth. When we rely on God’s power nothing that comes our way brings complete despair. This is true whether the circumstances we face are a result of our own failures or the attacks of others.

God’s rest is also eternal. As Christ-followers we have a hope that reassures us that no matter how bad things are now, someday all the pain and frustrations will be gone. Our physical lives will end, but will usher in an eternal life of peace, happiness and health, all in the presence of God Himself!

PRAYER: Father God. I’m tired. I’m tired physically, emotionally and spiritually. The things that are happening around me have taken away the joy I thought I was supposed to have in you. I confess that I’ve been struggling at my spiritual life all alone and not accepting the help you have promised. Forgive me for trying to do it alone. Empower me by your Holy Spirit to accept your comfort, your power and your help to make it through the daily grind that seems to pull me down. Thank you for your understanding and your rest. Amen.

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