If you have been reading the journal posts for the last week or so, then you have kept up with us as we have looked at the steps necessary to operate and live in your God-created “Strength Zone”. We have moved through the S-T-R-E-N-G-T-H portion and today we will start focusing on the Z-O-N-E. If you are just now joining us, I encourage you to scroll back through previous posts and read through the steps to putting yourself into your strength zone in life, no matter your age or your past.
If you are a sports fan or play sports, you may have heard it said that an athlete was really operating in their “zone” during a game or competition. The term usually means they were very focused and “all about” accomplishing what they set out to do, whether it was hitting a home run or breaking their own scoring record. Regardless, it was clear to all who were spectators that they were on a “mission” in their “zone!”
For the Christian, the “Z” in zone represents zeal or being zealous. Zeal is defined as having a keen enjoyment, enthusiasm, energy and excitement for your life or mission. The Apostle Paul, who started out as one of Christianity’s most ZEALOUS enemies, was handpicked by Jesus to take that same “zeal” and become one of the gospel’s most ardent messengers. Paul was first known as Saul, the one who was so zealous against Christianity and who pursued and brutally killed Christians. Saul stood and approved the stoning of Stephen a man who was so “zealous” for his faith that he was willing to die. As Stephen was being stoned he cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60) Shortly after the stoning of Stephen, Saul, who was throwing men and women into prison for their faith, was confronted by God on the road to Damascus. He was blinded by light and heard the voice of God. The men with Saul were so frightened because they heard a voice but didn’t see anyone. The Lord spoke and asked, “‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?'” (Acts 9:4) Saul suddenly became blind and had to be led into Damascus. For three days he was without sight and went without food or water. God used that moment to get a “Zealous” Saul to pay attention and convict him of his actions. God loved Saul so much that He used devastating circumstances to not only get Saul’s attention but to redirect the whole course of his life into a God-created “Strength Zone!” Saul became Paul, and from that day forward led a life with significance and enthusiasm for Jesus and the gospel. Thousands of years later millions have been affected and changed forever as a result of Saul’s conversion on the Damascus road and new life as Paul!
God wants our “Zeal”. He desires to use it to do things we cannot even comprehend. He uses whatever He deems necessary to capture our attention. If you are a Christian and have been following the steps of strength, it is time for you find your “ZEAL” for what God is calling you to do. It doesn’t mean you will become a “preacher,” but it does mean being intentional. Purposing daily to be enthusiastic about your “life in Christ” and your “energy” being used for His glory. If you are taking a breath right now, God has a purpose for you today……a purpose for your life. Someone for you to impact and influence and help. It could be as simple as a kind word or as hard as making a total career change at age 50. The good news is that God will equip you. He can! He can do anything. He will not bring you to a place of transformation and not restore and strengthen you. He restored “sight” to Saul/Paul. He will direct you. He can take your zeal and energy and use it in ways that will last for years after you are gone. Reading the life of Paul after his conversion is one of the best examples of God equipping someone, taking their “ZEAL” and using it for very STRONG AND POWERFUL THINGS.
I’m reminded that we have just celebrated Christmas, the virgin birth of Jesus. We are told in Luke 1:37, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” It is true…nothing is impossible with God. When God shows us the “Strength Zone” of our created purpose, may we respond as Mary did in Luke 1:38, “Behold I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” I encourage you today to take your zeal for the Life you have been given and use it for the Glory of the Lord……be “all about” operating in the “STRENGTH ZONE” OF YOUR LIFE.
I believe the quote, “One person with a divine purpose, ZEAL, and power is better than 99 people who are merely interested. ZEAL is stronger than interest.”