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Zeal for God

Fri­day. [Acts 8:40–9:19; John 6:48–54] Saint Paul defend­ed the Old Tes?tament rou­tines so zeal­ous­ly at first, because he was sin­cere­ly cer­tain that it was the unal­ter­able will of God that these rou­tines remain unchanged. He was not zeal­ous be?cause it was his fathers’ faith, but because he was zeal­ous in bring­ing ser­vice to God. In this lay the spir­it of his life — to devote him­self to God and direct all his ener­gy to?ward things pleas­ing to Him. Thus, in order to bring about his conver?sion, or to make him stand for the realm of New Tes­ta­ment things rather than the Old Tes­ta­ment, it was suf­fi­cient to tan­gi­bly show him that God no longer wants the Old Tes­ta­ment but rather the New, and that He has removed all of His good will from the for­mer and giv­en it to the lat­ter. The Lord’s appear­ance on the road accom­plished this in him. There it became clear to him that he was not direct­ing his zeal where he ought, that he was not pleas­ing God by act­ing as he did, but was going con­trary to His will. This vision of the state of affairs, with the help of God’s grace, imme­di­ate­ly changed his striv­ings, and he cried out: Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? (Acts 9:6). And from that moment on he direct­ed all of his zeal toward what was shown to him, and he did not for­get this event for his whole life, but thank­ful­ly remem­ber­ing it, stirred up his zeal with it — not spar­ing any­thing to work for his Lord and Sav­iour. This is how all peo­ple act who have sin­cere­ly turn?ed to the Lord.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse