About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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  Controlling Zeal   


1 Corinthians 14 concerns a common sense approach to conducting a meaningful Christian meeting.  In part, Paul wrote that two or three prophets could speak while those listening were to evaluate what was said, after which everyone was welcome to say a few words.  The bottom line to this chapter is that the meeting should be orderly so all can benefit.  Included in this orderliness is controlling one's spirit, as seen in verses 32 and 33. 


"The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.  For God is not a God of disorder but of peaceóas in all the congregations of the Lordís people."


The Greek verb that is translated into English as "are subject" in the phrase "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the control of the prophets" is a present passive indicative verb.  That means that in present time (present) it is a certain fact (indicative) that the spirits of the prophets are subject (passive) to the control of the prophets.  In other words, prophets, and I believe all Christians, have the inherent ability to exercise control over their spirits, and all which that suggests. 


I recently participated in a time sensitive meeting of pastors that lasts sixty minutes.  At the five minute mark of the meeting a pastor was asked to share a devotional, after which another pastor would share an important organizational issue.  The devotional lasted forty eight minutes, leaving an insufficient seven minutes for the important issue to be addressed.  The devotional pastor spoke with much zeal, but was she in control of her spirit by monopolizing the sixty minutes?       


In another recent meeting I attended, two brothers in Jesus got into a nasty shouting match over a doctrinal issue.  Both men zealously argued their opinion, but their zealous outbursts brought a sad and sudden end to the meeting where few could hear the closing prayer.  Did these men have control over their spirits as they zealously yelled at each other?       


We all express zeal based on our individual emotional makeup.  Some express zeal with forceful vigour, while others with quiet confidence.  However you express zeal, it is a human emotion of the spirit, which according to Paul, is subject to our control.    


The Holy Spirit can inspire zeal, but not all outbursts of zeal are Holy Spirit inspired.  To think that the Spirit of God will seize our emotions which cause us to lose all control, as some believe, is Biblically unfounded.  It's a misrepresentation of Ephesians 5:18 to condone a claim to be drunk in the Spirit.  Read Ephesians 5:15 through 18.   


"Be very careful, then, how you liveónot as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lordís will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit," 


Note the words, "be careful, not unwise but wise, do not be foolish, understand, and do not get drunk."  In other words, don't act like a drunk who has lost all control of his spirit, his emotions, and his senses.  Take control of yourself for the benefit of your brothers and sisters in Jesus.  "Be filled" in Ephesians 5:18 doesn't mean "be drunk."  The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet.  Zeal is to be controlled.     


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