Misdirected Zeal
by Joanne Ellison

This week as we continue our study in Romans, we focus on Romans 10: Misdirected Zeal. For I can testify about the they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Romans 10:2

Paul argues that the Jews pursued righteousness through the law (works) whereas the Gentiles pursued righteousness through faith. Paul understood the difficulty in transitioning from believing that the law (works) gave them right standing before God as opposed to faith in Jesus Christ.  And Paul believed they had misdirected zeal.

We, too, can have misdirected zeal not based on knowledge of God’s word and of His saving grace.  As believers, we can stumble by trying to please God through works.

How does this apply to us today?  We should ask ourselves these questions:

1. Do we have head knowledge that Jesus is Messiah but not heart knowledge?

2. Have we received Jesus as our Savior but never allowed Him to be Lord?

3. Do we disregard the leading of the Holy Spirit because our heart is hardened or because we may not wish to go against the cultural norm?

4. Do we start in the Spirit and end in the flesh?

As we discussed in our lesson today, there are ways that our expectations divert us.  We must remember that:

  • False expectations are a set up for misdirected zeal.
  • False expectations drives “should’s” and “oughts” (the law).
  • False expectations can determine how we drive ourselves and become stressed.

Paul described his fellow Jews as having misdirected zeal not based on knowledge, Paul describes the “word,” the law, as being near them. He takes the passage and applies it to the gospel as the word of faith (righteousness by faith).  We are to remember that righteousness does not require your efforts and righteousness does not require heroic acts.  Righteousness does not require anything – only to believe with your heart and profess your faith in Jesus.

Pray that the Lord directs your zeal towards faith in Him.  Seek to believe and confess Jesus as Lord daily.  Study God’s Word to increase faith.






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