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Zeal Tempered with Love

Bishop J. C. RyleIt is good that a man should be zealous for the Christian faith, but what are the signs of this zeal? According to J. C. Ryle:

“It is always good to be zealous in a good cause.” Galatians 4:18

[I]f zeal be true, it will be a zeal tempered with charity and love. It will not be a bitter zeal. It will not be a fierce enmity against people. It will not be a zeal ready to take the sword, and to smite with carnal weapons. The weapons of true zeal are not carnal—but spiritual. True zeal will hate sin—and yet love the sinner. True zeal will hate heresy—and yet love the heretic. True zeal will long to break the idol—but deeply pity the idolater. True zeal will abhor every kind of wickedness—but labor to do good, even to the vilest of transgressors. True zeal will warn as Paul warned the Galatians—and yet feel tenderly as a nurse or a mother over erring children. It will expose false teachers, as Jesus did the Scribes and Pharisees—and yet weep tenderly, as Jesus did over Jerusalem, when He came near to it for the last time. True zeal will be decided as a surgeon dealing with a diseased limb—but true zeal will be gentle as one that is dressing the wounds of a brother. True zeal will speak truth boldly, like Athanasius, against the world, and not care who is offended—but true zeal will endeavor in all its speaking, to speak the truth in love.

Furthermore, if zeal be true, it will be joined to a deep humility. A truly zealous man will be the last to discover the greatness of his own attainments. All that he is and does will come so immensely short of his own desires that he will be filled with a sense of his own unprofitableness, and amazed to think that God should work by him at all. Like Moses, when he came down from the mount, he will not know that his face shines. Like the righteous, in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, he will not be aware of his own good works. (“Be Zealous”)

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4 Responses

  1. Oh, to be able to act according to His Word at all times; this world would be the better for it. God teaches us how to live, yet we ignore his Word due to pride, ambition and the quickness to speak without thinking. Be humble and slow in your responses my friends so you may better live in the Word.

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  2. Reblogged this on My Delight and My Counsellors.

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  3. […] Zeal Tempered with Love. […]

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