Wisdom: Knowing How To Balance Your Zeal
When you read about Saint Paul, Peter, and Philip and others in the book of Acts, you see how their lives were marked by passion. They were full of zeal, enthusiasm and excitement, red-hot in following the Lord. Nothing could stop them.
I believe the Lord desires for us to be the same way today. Even Jesus had a purpose and a goal. He pressed onward toward Jerusalem with an iron will, focused on what His Father required of Him. And so must we....but.... not at the expense of wisdom. As somebody once said, “We can become so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.” We need to be wise in our zeal. Sometimes we need to slow down, be sensitive and listen. In all His zeal, Jesus still took time to simply listen to the woman at the well and play with the children.
One time a man came home from work and found his wife crying about something going on at the house. The “spiritual” man that he was, automatically started quoting Bible verses and telling her what the Church says and what The Virgin Mary would do in her situation and so on, thinking that was what she needed to hear. She stopped him in mid-sentence, saying, “Can you please stop? I can quote all those verses and know all the things you just said too. I just want you to listen.” In the man's enthusiasm and zeal, He had completely missed what she needed. There was no wisdom in that.
There are many different ways that zeal without wisdom can manifest.
Many times, women have asked for prayer for their non Christian husband. They explain the strife and incredible pain they live with, telling me all the ways they have tried to convert their loved one, but to no avail. Often, this zeal takes a turn, and soon the wife starts criticizing, putting down and pointing out all the husband’s wrong ways. In turn, the husband is driven even further from the Gospel than he was before. And further from his wife.
Zeal to see a loved one come to know the Lord is good. The Bible shows us the wise way to handle this zeal—and it never mentions to argue and fight or tell the whole world how bad someone may be.
Rather, in meekness and gentleness, wives are to live a godly life before that person. This becomes the means for their husbands to come to know the Lord “In like manner also let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives. Considering your chaste conversation with fear.” (see 1 Peter 3:1–7).
How often we end up losing precious friends and bringing such disunity in our fellowship or in our home by handling the truth without wisdom. We need to make a conscious effort to be sensitive to one another in this way. We need to keep our zeal and walk in wisdom at the same time.
Wisdom is knowing how to properly handle the information and knowledge we have, especially when it comes to relationships. And the Word of God tells us we receive wisdom by having the fear of the Lord. That simply means a close relationship with the Lord, seeking His face and living in obedience. This brings wisdom to our hearts. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:” (Proverbs 9:10)