“… they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.” (Romans 10:2 ESV)
I’ve pondered those words from Romans 10 for a lifetime, especially during revivals. But, they have great implications beyond a local church revival to a nation under siege within itself. Too many people are at the center of their world with little to no consideration for others, especially for those that are ‘different.’
We want what we want because we see it the way that we see it and that is it! The Apostle Paul’s addresses own countrymen with this simple thought, zeal that is not tempered by knowledge is dangerous. The word knowledge in the Greek is epígnōsis, (ep-ig’-no-sis) which means a precise and correct knowledge. It refers to knowledge that is ethical and divine. There are many things to know. Information is invaluable. Knowledge of things ethical or even divine, are easily known to many that are at the center of their worlds. For many, much of what is known is not akin to ethics or the Divine at all, and what is known sometimes makes little to no difference in life or the lives of others. That word is communicated in Colossians 1:9, “… that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding …” Not much is done these days ‘with the knowledge of His will …” which may explain why the world is in such turmoil.
Zeal without discipline will allow ignoring others, their thoughts, or needs. Zeal without the benefit of enlightenment with nothing more than personal feelings grows more and more out of control. History has little meaning, unless it is offered within the boundaries of how one views the world. People pursue an end by any means because the end is all that matters. Process, morals or decency don’t really matter if there is a successful outcome to any zealous effort. Ignorance parades as wisdom and is glorified by any of the same mindset and zeal. Submission is never an alternative in this fight for right. Dominance at all costs is the objective. Dialogue is no longer feasible as a worthy method toward compromise or consensus. There will be no compromise. Tolerance is a thing of the past.
Jesus’ condemnation of sin was not so overtly offensive but always offered to gain or help the individual in sin’s grip. The woman caught in the very act of adultery received from Him more mercy than condemnation. The Lord’s patience was always evident, even among those who were His worst critics and condemners.
It is easy to be driven by a zeal without a real connection with knowledge or truth. Some become extreme in their ideas about life and people. The entire world is being affected by extremes that have grown out of worldviews impacted by deep poverty, imperialism, greed and race issues. Truth must always guide and discipline our zeal. We will all be in bondage without truth to guide us and keep in line our zealous efforts to prove how right we are.