I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. (Chapter 2, quoting Romans 10)
Do I know these kind of people? I tend to be a bit cautious when answering that kind of question, lest I be the one it is talking about. And I think I was at one time. I followed by heart, I went to Bible College and got me degree. I went into ministry and worked my tail off. I had a zeal, but ended up getting divorced and losing my job.
And do you know what my biggest regret is? It is the fact that I know believe that I was totally unprepared for ministry. I had the knowledge, the degree, but I was ignorant that my righteousness was not found in my effort to please God, but rather that my righteousness came from God. I just wonder how a solid comprehension of that fact might have changed many things.
I was in Youth Ministry. I spent tons of time with kids, and our population was growing. And that was gone in an instant when my wife said she wanted a divorce. I should have seen the signs, but I was too busy being zealous for God. Meanwhile, my wife was being zealous for a deacon.
I don't blame her. I was wrapped up in something that I believed was good. I was at the schools, the sporting events, contributing to the state conventions, etc. Spreading myself as thin as I could. Trouble with spreading yourself thin is, eventually the rubber band snaps.
But it was in one of those moments, after the divorce, after taking my son back to his mom, that depressing ride home, wondering where it went wrong, questioning why God let this happen, didn't He need me? It was in that moment when the answer came. No. He didn't need me. I was devastated. But after a few moments of self-pity, another word, telling me that although he didn't need me, he wanted me. That was the beginning of a new-found righteousness. A realization that although I had failed, He had not failed me. And I wish I could say that since that moment it has been smooth sailing. It has not. But I am learning not to stretch the rubber band to the breaking point. I am learning that it is not about me. That is a good, but hard lesson to learn.