When I was in high school the Lord put on my heart a message to share with our youth group. I asked my youth leader if I could share and he allowed me to be the speaker during our usual Wednesday night service. I don't remember exactly what I spoke on. I do remember asking the Lord that if my "word" was truly from him that lots of people would show up. When I got up to speak we had one of the largest crowds I ever remember having. About 30 people, maybe, which was pretty big for our small church.
When I got up to speak I began to weep. I couldn't help it. The tears just began to flow. I think that also got everyone's attention. When I finished weeping I shared my message and then gave an altar call. I think perhaps 2-3 people responded. That wasn't good enough for me. I began to passionately exhort my peers. Again, I don't remember everything I said, but I called out some of them, "Henry, God wants to do something in your life!" After I got done exhorting many of my friends came forward and I prayed for them.
Before everyone left to go home, the pastor's daughter and some of her friends came up to me with tears, wanting me to pray for them. I believe they had not really been serving the Lord and wanted to repent and give their lives back to the Lord. The Lord had been moving on their hearts.
Interestingly enough, not everyone was thrilled with how God moved that evening. Sometime that next week one of the girls in the youth group called to tell me she was offended. I appreciated that she at least called and spoke to me and didn't just talk about me behind my back. I think she was okay with everything up to the point where I began to exhort and call people by name in the youth group.
It's been at least 14 or 15 years since that happened, so I may not have gotten all of the details of the story right. Nevertheless, I find it interesting how there are different reactions from people when God moves. People who may have not been right with God are drawn to him with tears of repentance. Religious people are offended. It was the same way in Jesus' day. When we live out our walk with God inevitably it will rub some people the wrong way.
As a teenager I was pretty passionate for God. Perhaps a bit outspoken. Perhaps a little brash. Maybe not very humble. I don't know.
Romans 12:11 says, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." I think, as we get older, life tends to wear on us, and can wear us out. It's easy to lose the passion we once had for the Lord. We can become discouraged, feel defeated, or just plain tired. But we are encouraged to keep up our spiritual fervor. Zeal, my friends, is not just for youth. Certainly, often youthful zeal needs to be tempered with Godly wisdom. But not so hardened that the heart is no longer sensitive to the moving of the Spirit.
I want to live out my days passionately in love with the Lord and serving Him with all my heart. I hope, as I continue to grow in the Lord, I continually care less about what others think of my walk with God and more about simply loving and pleasing Him. That's not to say we go around trying to offend people. But that doesn't mean that we should hide our love for Him either. Keep up your zeal!