What is a zeal for truth? Is it something youíre born with, or does it just come naturally? If it doesnít come naturally, how do you acquire it? On the other hand, why is it important to have it in the first place? These are all legitimate questions that must cross the minds of many. Therefore, they deserve answers.
Zeal is defined as eagerness in pursuit of something. Considering this, a zeal for truth must begin with a high regard for Godís Word. If Godís Word is highly regarded, this should place within us an eagerness to study to learn what is contained therein. This means much more than only believing that we should study it occasionally. This high regard should inspire us to absorb it on a regular basis to search for truth. Otherwise, is it really highly regarded?
Regular study grows into a love, and because of what it contains, it develops into a total trust in Godís Word for our beliefs, standards, morals and our lives. We should move beyond accepting Godís Word only as reading material and begin to accept it as the truth against which everything else is measured. Otherwise, we donít really trust it.
The Scripture in Psalm 119, 160th verse, is clear and should be accepted with confidence:
160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. NKJV
Acceptance of this Scripture alone should inspire us to vigorously pursue truth upon which to base our beliefs and upon which to base our lives. How can we possibly feel secure knowing that much of what we hear, read and accept is not actually based on truth? Doesnít that alone create major insecurity for our lives and our future? More importantly, shouldnít that be the major inspiration for us to develop a zeal for and a commitment to seeking truth?
One of the problems with accepting less than what is actually truth is that it progresses into a society that is based on deceit, deception, distortions and lies. No society based on these principles, or lack of principles, can stand. It is doomed for destruction, along with its inhabitants.
This environment progresses into one where Christians begin searching for deceit and deception and leaders and teachers become complicit and participate in their destruction. This is addressed in II Timothy, 4th Chapter, verses 3 Ė 4:
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. NKJV
This is confirmed and further developed in II Peter, 2nd Chapter, verses 1 Ė 4:
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. NKJV
This Scripture describes the extent to which this regression from the truth expands. It reveals that a lack of a zeal for or pursuit of truth ultimately results in a complete breakdown of the structure upon which Christianity should progress and creates an environment in which Christians no longer want truth. This will ultimately place Christians in a precarious position, as described in the 2nd Chapter of Romans, 2nd verse:
2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truthÖ NKJV
When Christians, whose righteousness is based on truth, begin to embrace what is not based on truth, they bring the judgment of God upon them. They lose the protections afforded them in Godís Word. They become subject to Godís judgment for their failure to accept and live according to Godís Truth.
Jesus, in speaking to His Disciples, explained that, upon His departure, it would be the role of the Holy Spirit to guide us into truth. In the 16th Chapter of John, 13th verse, He said:
13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. NKJV
Here Jesus is confirming not only our need for truth, but also for our need to depend upon the Holy Spirit to provide us with truth. Many Christians depend on their teachers and their pastors to guide them into truth. Many Christians seldom or only sporadically read or study Scripture. Some Christians limit additional study to study groups. But each of these methods for learning truth neglects the best teacher of all, and the one the Jesus describes as the One we should rely on for our source of truth: The Holy Spirit.
Those who have discovered this resource and have learned to rely on Him know that there is no better teacher than the Holy Spirit. Prayerfully reading and studying Godís Word while depending on the Holy Spirit to guide you will always bring better understanding of Godís Word, as the Holy Spirit will never lead you into deceit or deception; whereas, as indicated in above Scriptures, depending completely on others for our truth will sometimes result in distortion, deceit or deception.
Another impetus for our zeal for truth is found in I Samuel, 12th Chapter, verses 24 Ė 25:
24 Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.
25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king." NKJV
And remember that zeal means to hold to the truth, no matter where it takes you.