“Zeal in religion is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world in every possible way. It is a desire which no man feels by nature – which the Spirit puts in the heart of every believer when he is converted – but which some believers feel so much more strongly than others that they alone deserve to be called ‘zealous’ men . . .
“A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He only sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives, or whether he dies – whether he has health, or whether he has sickness – whether he is rich, or whether he is poor – whether he pleases man, or whether he gives offence – whether he is thought wise, or whether he is thought foolish – whether he gets blame, or whether he gets praise – whether he gets honour, or whether he gets shame – for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it – he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn; and if consumed in burning, he has but done the work for which God appointed him. Such a one will always find a sphere for his zeal. If he cannot preach, work, and give money, he will cry, and sigh, and pray. . . If he cannot fight in the valley with Joshua, he will do the work of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, on the hill (Exod. 17:9-13). If he is cut off from working himself, he will give the Lord no rest till help is raised up from another quarter, and the work is done. This is what I mean when I speak of ‘zeal’ in religion.” (Practical Religion).
“If he is consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it – he is content.”
“The jealousy of God threatens churches which are not zealous for God.”
“We love our churches; they have hallowed associations; we cannot imagine them displeasing God, at any rate not seriously. But the Lord Jesus once sent a message to a church very much like some of ours – the complacent church of Laodicea – in which he told the Laodicean congregation that their lack of zeal was a source of supreme offense to him. ‘I know thy works, that thou are neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot.’ Anything would be better than self-satisfied apathy! ‘So then because thou art luke-warm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. . . Be zealous therefore, and repent’ (Rev. 3:15 f., 19, KJV).
“How many churches today are sound, respectable – and lukewarm? What, then, must Christ’s word be to them? What have we to hope for? – unless, by the mercy of the God who in wrath remembers mercy, we find zeal to repent? Revive us, Lord, before judgement falls!” (Knowing God).