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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

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