“Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Shame has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother’s children; Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.” – Psalm 69:7-9
Tonight I had a conversation which evoked passion in me. It concerned sexual perversion and purity. I couldn’t just have the conversation “lightly” or sarcastically or in “good humor.” The fire in my belly starting pouring out my mouth. Tears, a raised voice. “I care!” I cried. “I care okay! I care about those people! It’s not so much about it’s wrong or breaking the law or whatever, It’s about their souls! It’s about that’s not how God created them to be and its destroying them!” And the response was mocking and sarcasm and “Give me a break! Who cares!!!!”
At that point I got mad. I stomped away spewing about how I opened myself up and shared only to get shut down with sarcasm and mocking for actually caring.
I then ran to John. The book of John that is. I felt the Spirit leading me there to purify the zeal that was being exhibited in me. His whisper to my heart was, “When you take up your cross and follow Jesus you care about people. It’s not about what’s ‘legal’ or illegal. It’s about their souls. You care so much that you will speak the truth and not respond with harshness when they are angry with you. You must care and be willing to hurt though they cling to what hurts them and despise you for caring. My pure love that cares for them beats in you Sheila. But that impurity of defending yourself must go. It has to die. Otherwise you’re cutting off ears that would otherwise hear through your willingness to hurt and care in the name of Jesus.”
Then He led me to this:
“Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup the Father has given me?” – John 18:10-11
“Put your sword back into its sheath Sheila! Shall the sufferings of Christ not be seen in you because of your impure zeal?”
When Christ lives in us, zeal for His house eats us up too!
You know what that is? You know what His house is?
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
-1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NKJV (emphasis added by me)
A pure zeal for God’s house (people) to not be defiled will be willing to bear the reproach of those who reproach God’s name. If my zeal is pure, I will be willing to bear shame for the sake of desiring God’s name to be glorified in the lives of people… the “house” which He chooses to dwell in.
If my zeal is not pure, like Peter, I’ll be quick to cut off the ear that won’t receive the passion Christ has for souls. I have cut an ear tonight. But I’m so glad that my Jesus is reaching down to put it back on tonight and heal it.
God calls us to live a life that bears the reproach others have for God’s character while reaching out in truth and love for the deliverance of their souls. He calls us to have a zeal that eats us up for others! He calls us to care that people are dying in bondage to sexual perversion, lies, all kinds of subtle evil and twisted ways that are not what they were created for. He calls us to be passionate about people who He created to bear His own image… who He desires to inhabit that His glory might be displayed in their lives, and that they might have intimacy with God as they were created to. But He calls us to be willing to bear their offenses without returning offenses in our zeal.
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;” 1 Peter 2:21-23
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” – 1 Peter 3:8-9
Search me and know me oh God! See this wicked way of cutting off ears and returning reviling for reviling in me, and rid me of it, leading me in Your everlasting way!