Many of us do not think of Christ as a passionate Person. Our finite caricatures often depict Him the model of gentility, soft-spoken, quiet. While He no doubt had these qualities at times, what other qualities did He possess? Do we love the whole Person He is if we only accept the palatable facets of His being?
Let me ask this: Do you feel like a person cares about you when they only want to know parts of your makeup? Say friends only want to be around you when you're funny, or in a good mood. Say these friends avoid you when you want to sit and have a serious conversation. Does this make you feel loved for who you are?
All of who you are?
Humans are funny creatures. We make it a habit to behave like I've mentioned. We like positive emotions and shun negative ones. We like fun and shrink from pain. Yet, some of the deepest lessons we learn are the result of pain and negative happenings.
I reflect on my own treatment of God as a Person. Do I treat Him like a vending machine, putting my prayers in the slot, pulling the handle, and expect my answer only to walk away without acknowledging the Person He is? Do I only love parts of His Person?
I am a woman of much zeal and deep passion. I have an intensity and zeal about life, people, and especially God. For many years, others misunderstood this and brought about much destruction to my emotions because, to them, Christian women aren't supposed to be full of anything but sweetness and syrup. I beat myself up and tried hard to make myself conform to their standard of righteousness. One day in prayer, I cried out to Him and said, "I've tried but I can't be like that." Do you know what He said?
"When did I ask you to?"
What a healing revelation that was for me; transforming at my very core. Over the years, I've still been pegged as too energetic, too passionate. I've learned to accept who I am and how He created me. Others may not agree but that's okay. I'm passionately in love with Jesus. I'm passionate about sharing the Good News. I'm unashamedly passionate about sharing what He's done in and for me. I make no apologies.
I will not say that it doesn't sting when people misjudge me. I'm human. However, it no longer wounds me. I've often asked God why He made me like I am. The answer is simple: I've been equipped with the appropriate gifts to accomplish the task He's set for me to do. How silly and nonfunctional it would be to expect me to build a house but not give me the tools to do it. With God, it's that same way.
Okay. So, I'm zealous, and focused, and deliberate in how I serve Him. But, I admit, some days, I'd like to be the quiet, demure type. Life's somehow easier for women who fit neatly into the religious stereotype. The other day, while reading the Scripture, I came upon Zechariah 8:2, "Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; with great fervor I am zealous for her."
My study Bible expounds on the word zealous. It means, "to be zealous, filled with zeal, full of emotion; to be passionate; also to be jealous or envious; to be highly possessive of something...This is not a negative word though, as it is the zeal of the Lord that will bring about the Messiah's eternal reign...In the present reference, God is either zealous with burning zeal for Zion, or jealous with burning jealousy, or perhaps fanatic over His Jerusalem..."
Wait. Whoa. God has zeal? God has passion?
Oh, my goodness. So the God of all the universe is passionate. He is full of emotion, passion, zeal. I'd never really thought of Him in this light but it is a step closer to knowing all of who He is. I felt both joy and comfort in learning that my zealous self is in good company. It touched me deeply that God took the time to teach me, and minister healing to me by showing me this verse. He is amazing and the more I know Him, the more I know there is to know.