Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Romans 10:1-3
It’s been written of before. It being the gap between expression and the realisation of an aspiration. For, having voiced it, I expected circumstances to be so ordered that it’s reality would happen within a few years. Again, having written about it before, ended up being at least 5 years before the road’s beginning was lightened up.
It’s a good thing that the universe is not ordered according to my expectations. I find my own voice in Paul’s assessment of the Israelites. I had a zeal. And this zeal was palpable. And, I thought, this zeal was something that ought to be repeated in others.
Rather than the life-giving light of the sun, my zeal was like an inefficient light bulb. More heat than light. Artificial light at best.
Developments in technology bring the advent of more efficient forms of domestic, commercial, and industrial lighting. Such development is certainly less taxing on consumers.
To this kind of zeal, something had to be added. And that something was knowledge.
My zeal, like the zeal of the Israelites, was ignorance. It was zeal without knowledge.
The continuing delay between expression and realisation is the context for a slow and glad process. This process is the assimilation and appropriation of knowledge. But this is far more than the expansion of intellectual capacity and content. Rather, this acquisition of knowledge has been formative.
In words written to Titus, Paul speaks of a knowledge of the truth that accords (or leads to) godliness. Such knowledge is dynamic in the sense that dynamite has power to change.
It seemed that zeal + knowledge over time would lead to an ever-increasing ministry of light into darkness.
This process is ongoing. There are still classes to take, assignments to write, and hoops of fire which need passing through. This in the context of a life characterised by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
A slow and glad process
This thing that some might call ministry preparation has taken many more times longer than I had initially thought. But I, and those who know me, we are glad. We are glad that no ecclesiastic body so foolish so as to unleash me on those committed to their charge.
With an ignorant zeal, I would burn victims rather than guide pilgrims. Without formative knowledge that accords with godliness, I would remain a blind leader of the blind.
But praise be to God that He has opened my eyes.
For the unfolding of His word gives light. (Psalm 119:130)