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Spiritual Fervor or Frenzied Activity

By A.W. Tozer


      Not the quantity of zeal matters to God, but the quality. The significant question is not how zealous is the Christian but why is he zealous and to what does his zeal lead? To the church at Laodicea our Lord said, "Be zealous, therefore, and repent" (Revelation 3:19, KJV). The zeal that leads to penitence, restitution and amendment of life is surely dear to God. The ardor that drives a man to his knees in intercession for others was found in men like Moses, Daniel and Ezra; but there is a kind of zeal that gives to the world such misshapen religious examples as Joseph Smith and Mary Baker Eddy.
      That many Christians in our day are lukewarm and somnolent will not be denied by anyone with an anointed eye, but the cure is not to stir them up to a frenzy of activity. That would be but to take them out of one error and into another. What we need is a zealous hunger for God, an avid thirst after righteousness, a pain-filled longing to be Christlike and holy. We need a zeal that is loving, self-effacing and lowly. No other kind will do.

      That pure love for God and men which expresses itself in a burning desire to advance God's glory and leads to poured-out devotion to the temporal and eternal welfare of our fellow men is certainly approved of God; but the nervous, squirrel-cage activity of self-centered and ambitious religious leaders is just as certainly offensive to Him and will prove at last to have been injurious to the souls of countless millions of human beings.

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