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Passion And Sincerity - Good Or Bad?

Galatians 4:17-20
Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them. It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you. My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you! (NIVUK)

We like to relate with people who seem sincere. We like to do business with people we think we can trust. But, sadly, people are not always the same as they appear. The false teachers who had invaded the Galatian churches did not look or sound bad. They seemed very confident and sincere. The believers thought that they were personally interested in them, and had their good at heart. Certainly they were sincerely confident; but they were sincerely wrong - and the believers were being led away from Christ.
Paul was passionate about their spiritual welfare, even though the churches had rejected him and his gospel. The inner pain of their spiritual defection was, to Paul, as personal and inescapable as labour pains. He knew that they would be safe if they were trusting only in Christ, and not on legalistic religious observance. They needed to desire Christ and allow Him to dwell in them so that they became like Him.
It is easy to be a religious enthusiast: just be totally convinced about a new idea you have had, be sincere and passionate, and sell your ‘product’ to people who will ‘buy in’. Many people have done that and some have made a lot of money. But the Apostle Paul was different. The gospel was not his idea (Galatians 1:11-12). He did not make any money out of gospel preaching (he chose to pay for his living expenses out of his earnings as a tent-maker). He did not manipulate people and was not a very impressive speaker. But God used him to communicate the truth about Jesus. Like Paul, when you are passionate about what is right and true, God will use you. Otherwise it is like selling fake goods.

Father God. Thank You for the genuinely profitable passion of men and women of God who are eager to share the gospel. But I am sad to see others who are passionate but not Christ-centred; and who lure immature believers away from trusting in Jesus alone. I am sorry when I have misdirected people. Please help me to grow more like Jesus Christ each day as I let Him work in me. And help me to discern which sincere people are full of Christ and which are not. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams