In Galatians 4:18, Paul states: "But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing..." When my wife and I read that the other morning, while having our morning devotional time, it grabbed me and has not let me go since. That phrase "zealously affected" stood out like a neon sentinel frantically beckoning me to stop and consider. Zealously affected, zealously affected, zealously affected. What was God trying to tell me?
I looked up zealously and zeal in my trusty 1828 Webster's dictionary, then in my more modern dictionary. The meaning was basically the same: 'Passionate ardor in the pursuit of any thing.' So, to be zealously affected in a good thing, IS a good thing! What's more, that zealous affectation should be continual. But what kinds of things are good? Most of us can answer that, but let me take a moment to share with you some of my thoughts on what any good thing might be.
God: His Goodness, His Love, His Mercy, His Peace
First and foremost, we should be zealously affected for the Lord our God. Unfortunately, in this day and age, many of us do not carry that zeal with us at all times. However, there is a lost and dying world out there in need of a Saviour. We should be zealously sharing His Word, His love, telling others about His peace, and spreading abroad His joy. We should stand at the crossroads of life, and with an unmistakably loving zeal, show the wayward soul the right path, the straight path, the true path. We should reach out to fellow Christians also, helping them in times of adversity, sharing in times of victory, supporting them in sickness, and rejoicing with them.
Your Family: Spouse, children, extended family
We should be zealously affected toward our families. We should encourage our wives, our husbands, our children, to higher plateaus of God's grace We should abound with zeal in helping each one attain their highest potential with the talents that God has so graciously given them. Our cups should spill over with the zeal of patience and kindness while living with them in our everyday lives. Let your zeal toward your family show!
Husbands and wives, take time to be zealously affected by your spouse. Take them in your arms for a warm embrace. Hold hands while shopping, while walking to the church door, while sitting in the pew, while going to sleep at night, and while sitting and talking to each other as you look softly into each others eyes. Put down the paper, put down the book, turn off the television, stay at home, stop watching the sports, stop the busy-ness and share a wink, share a smile, share a glance, or share an ice cream soda. Get zealously affected, like you used to!
Home Schooling Your Children: Present and Future
Remember when you first decided to home school? Oh, what a rollercoaster of emotions some of us rode upon! Elation, fear, excitement, dread, giddiness, confusion, submission, trepidation, and quiet peace, they were all there.
The decision to home school our two sons was not an easy one. In fact, our sons were in the public school system up until the last nine weeks of their third and first grade years. During all that public school time, however, the Lord was working on us.
I look back and find it amazing that God ever got through to us, as stubborn as we tried to be. He used some friends from our church at that time to encourage us to explore home schooling. They encouraged all right, though they did it in what we thought was a rather overly rambunctious way. Was it perhaps, that they were zealously affected by home schooling at the time?
We read, studied, and read some more all in an attempt to show these "affected" folks that public school was just fine. However, through all our study, God was working and convicting our hearts. Once the Lord got through to us, it was just a matter of weeks before God convinced us that we should not wait till the current school year was over, as we wanted to do. He kept telling us, "If it's wrong next year, it is wrong now." We got the point. We brought our sons home for the last nine weeks of the year. We, too, were now becoming zealously affected.
Since bringing our children home to be trained and educated, we have never looked back. Even though they have graduated from our home school high school, we still enjoy their company, and they enjoy ours. Though they are twenty-two and twenty-one, we still learn together, share together, and laugh together. Our home is still a home of home schooling zealots! We LOVE home schooling. We are, and continue to be, zealously affected with home schooling.
Though Home School Enrichment is a business, we all see it primarily as a ministry [Note: This article was originally published in Home School Enrichment Magazine.]. We talk about it, plan its future, and have even dreamed about it—literally. We work long hours on each issue poring over articles, searching for ideas, at times groaning for the lack of time in each day because there just do not seem to be enough hours. We are zealously affected!
As we all work for the Christian home schooling community, our sons are also planning their methods of home schooling, in the hope that one day, the Lord will bring to them each a mate and children. We discuss the pros of this method, the cons of another, the intricacies of yet another, all with an eye to them home schooling their children, our grandchildren. They talk about how we, as grandparents, will have a part in the home schooling experience that they will enjoy. They are looking forward, with zeal, to a bright future of home schooling their children.
We are zealously affected by a good thing! Are you?
Dads, do you embrace home schooling as your wife does? Do you encourage her, equip her, and love her in the job she is doing? Do you get excited with your children as they learn a new Bible verse, or a difficult math concept, or share with you something from their science lesson? Do you join in the teaching process? Do you zealously convey your gratitude to God for the home schooling opportunity?
Moms, I applaud you! Most zealously, I do so! Most moms out there are the backbone of the home school. They are teacher, encourager, disciplinarian, nurse, and chief cook and bottle washer. However, moms, do you do so with zeal? When that math lesson takes two hours, then the science lesson spills and ruins your tabletop, and the children still do not seem to grasp what a gerund is, do you still have zeal for home schooling? As the laundry piles up, and the dishes do the same, and the home school records are not yet done, and it's that time of night when all sane people are asleep, do you still have a zealous feel for home schooling? (Oh, what impudent questions I ask!)
Children, do you appreciate your parents for the bold stand they have taken? Do you appreciate with zeal the earnestness of your parents as they fulfill the call that God has placed on their lives, as parents? Do you appreciate the fact that they wish to keep you away from a public school system for your own good? Do you willingly apply yourself daily to your lessons, as unto the Lord?
What a glorious thing it is to be zealously affected always in a good thing!
Home schooling families, be strong. Be of a good courage. Continue to stand in the power of God's might, and in that power, be zealously affected for Him, for your family that He has given you, and for home schooling.
Remember, He is zealously affected for you, through His love for you. Now that is a reason to be zealously affected!
Frank Lewis and his wife, Kari, have been married for 27 years. They started homeschooling their two sons in 1990 and taught them at home until each graduated from homeschool high school. In 2002, the four of them founded Home School Enrichment, Inc.
This article was originally published in the Mar/Apr '04 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com