The Invasion of Zeal
Zeal is the overwhelming force of moral will, clarity, and desire to “get stuff done”----meaning the ability to achieve victory. Many-a-great plans have been drawn—strategies and tactics, only to have them fizzle in time or implode upon launch. Leaders find themselves besieged by budgets, demanding bosses, deadlines, petty personality problems in the office, uninspired co-workers, and clients and customers that don’t make you feel appreciated. Being overwhelmed, leaders want to find a cave to hide in and lick their mental and emotional wounds. Does this sound familiar?
From where can we draw wisdom to meet these enormous daily challenges? The great biblical text from the prophet Isaiah says, “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
Notice that Isaiah doesn’t attribute God’s accomplishments to His intelligence or strength, but instead to His zeal. The zeal to live the right way and do good was captured by Edmund Burke’s saying, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” said Edmund Burke. Good overcomes evil, if and only if, we as leaders are moved by zeal that is born in what is right so that it changes what is wrong.
In 33 AD, Jesus was incensed at the scandalous use of the temple in His day. He made a chord of whips, entered the temple, turned over money-changing tables single-handedly, and threw out the money-changers. Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “I rationally concluded this was the best course of action.” He didn’t create a T-Chart of pros and cons and decide this was the best course of action. What were the motives for Jesus’ actions? He says, “Zeal for my Father’s house will consume me”.
Pursuing your purpose with zeal is how you are created to live! Zeal, as stated before, is the overwhelming force of moral will, clarity, and desire to “get stuff done”----meaning the ability to achieve victory.
As a leader, ask two questions:
Zeal is the attribute that does not cohabit well with “business as usual” or it’s “just another day at the office”. Zeal overwhelms “normalness”. Zeal compels us to excel beyond norms pushing processes to their limits, and inviting team members toward heights never seen before. Zeal takes wrong and overwhelms it into straightness. It takes despair and imposes upon it dynamism and destiny. Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all”---the corollary is that it’s zeal which puts pain and fatigue back into its small place in our march to victory.
As a leader, who wins your daily battles? Does inconsistency win? Laziness? Cynicism? Or does zeal arise within you, to conquer these parasitical traits? What about failed time management? Lack of organization? Poor execution? Does your zeal overcome these damaging evils that hinder you from fulfilling your destiny? Zeal overwhelms anxiety, despair, and the demons of fear.
Two powerful effects of zeal:
Zeal determines the extent to which you overcome inertia, laziness, frustration, and fear to achieve your objective. One of the enemies of zeal is “it has always worked” the way it does now. As a leader, ask yourself if the tactics, culture, and policies you are living with now the best they can be? Zeal demands the best; it doesn’t settle for less. Zeal takes over our lives and fights when others won’t fight. It excels when others are too tired and too despairing to carry on. Zeal constantly destroys the little petty things before they become bigger challenges that get in the way of our mission.
Zeal makes better people of us all—it makes better leaders. Alexander the Great and Julius Ceasar won the admiration of their soldiers with stories of zeal leading war charges that would likely get them killed! Julius Ceasar, fighting an enemy army, outnumbered two-to-one ripped his helmet off, snatched a common sword from one of his infantry men, and charged uphill against the arrows and slings of the enemy. His men would forever love him and follow him to the ends of the earth. Alexander the Great zealously besieged a wall of the enemy, climbing and leading the charge, only to have the ladder fall apart and his men fall to the ground underneath him. Instead of safely falling back into the arms of his men, Alexander stood atop the enemy wall alone using his sword skills fighting the enemy until a new ladder was erected and help arrived. Alexander was carried off the battlefield with a spear puncturing his lungs.
Zeal is not taught; it is caught! It rises up within you. It takes on a life of its own reshaping you to be a reformer. It takes you by surprise. Zeal makes you bolder, more courageous, and more capable of accomplishment than otherwise would be true.
11/4/2022 07:35:44 am
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