A Fine Line (Cassandra Millis)

I don’t mean to start this blog off with a fight but I’m very opposed to tattoos… on me. It isn’t a religious concern, I’ve just had this issue since I was a kid where I really dislike pain. Somehow, for me, it hurts. So, I avoid it. But if there were some way to get a tattoo with no pain, I know what mine would be. The first bit of Romans 12:11 in some fancy font: “Be Not Slothful in Zeal.”

Zeal means “great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause”. It’s easy to lose sight of the energy and excitement that you may have had when you first became a Christian, or felt closer to God than you do now- but we can’t be slothful in zeal. I look back on my college days and wish I could be that zealous again. I think of going on prayer walks around campus and praying outside the buildings with…

Excuse me. Not to interrupt, but doesn’t Matthew 6:5-6 say only hypocrites pray in public, that they have received their reward but JESUS wants us to go into our room and pray in secret?

That’s true. And that’s an important point too. You don’t want to be a showy Christian. In High School, my youth group was doing the “40 Hour Famine” where you fast for 40 hours, and the leaders gave us little tags to wear to school that said we were fasting so don’t offer us food, and then someone pointed out to us Matthew 6:16-18 about how no one should know that you’re fasting.

But aren’t you telling anyone who is reading this blog that you fasted and henceforth breaking that instruction from our Lord and Savior as well?

I was just trying to make a point, but fine. You have to be careful about broadcasting your Christianity for everyone to see.

Wait just a second. Does Christ not say in Luke 12:9 that if you deny Christ before man, He will deny you before the Father?

I’m not saying to deny Christ, just that there is a middle ground between being zealous and being ostentatious about your faith.

Oh! So we should be lukewarm so Christ can spit us out of His mouth like He did the Church in Laodicea!

Come on, man! I’ll admit: there’s a sticky cross-section about being zealous about your faith and show-boating, or worse: not loving people. Say what you will about the Bible being difficult to interpret but its stance on loving your fellow man is pretty unquestionable. Colossians 4:6 has good advice: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

Let the private parts of your faith be private. Have a relationship with God that no one else knows about. Talk with him, read His word, engage in spiritual practices like fasting- but keep that between the two of you. Then let the public parts of your faith be public. Help people, serve, worship in a community and don’t be shy to “answer for the joy that is in you.”

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