“Now Ezra had determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.” – Ezra 7:10 CSB
A few years ago, as part of my fitness goals, I had determined that I would perform two chin-ups without any assistance. For me, this was a huge goal especially since I had recently recovered from a shoulder injury. It took months of hard work, a sweaty workout plan, days of setbacks due to shoulder pain, and many massage therapy sessions before I could reach my goal. At times, the setbacks prevented me from training altogether. It was not easy but when I was finally able to do these two simple chin-ups, it was all worth it. The work, effort, and dedication were not in vain.
Many times in fitness, we invest entire training seasons to reach a goal that may last a few short seconds or minutes. Shouldn’t we also place such great emphasis and commitment if not even greater on our spiritual lives? When it comes to our spiritual lives, the time and dedication invested will impact an entire lifetime allowing us to reap the benefits in this life and in the next at the second return of Christ. However, this requires consistent devotion and determination. Just as we cannot reach our fitness goals by committing to them only on an occasional basis, we cannot build a meaningful relationship with Jesus by committing to Him only occasionally or on a superficially level.
Every relationship requires continuous communication, commitment, and intimacy. This truth was well known by Ezra the scribe. Indeed, Ezra knew that to have a meaningful intimate relationship with the Lord, he had to determine in his heart to put the Lord first and that’s exactly what he did. The Bible tells us that: “Ezra has determined in his heart to study the law of the Lord, obey it, and teach its statutes and ordinances in Israel.”
Note the sequence presented in the scripture. First, Ezra had to set his heart on God and listen to His voice through His written Word (and most assuredly through prayer). Then, after receiving the Word, Ezra obeyed the Lord. Obedience is evidently a sign of true Christian maturity and love for God. It is also the next step that we should follow once we receive the Word. Indeed, Our love and devotion to God must always lead to obedience. Finally, Ezra understood that all he learned had to be shared with others. He had to teach all the statutes and ordinances of the Lord to the people of Israel. When we receive a word from God, we also become stewards of this word and it becomes our responsibility to teach to others what we have received. This will, in turn, affect our relationship with the Lord, building and reinforcing the bond and commitment between us.
We can learn a lot from Ezra’s example when it comes to investing in our relationship with God.
Ezra teaches us to :
- Build a love for God
- Set our heart on God and the things of God
- Study the written Word
- Listen to God’s voice
- Obey the Word
- Teach the Word to those around us.
A heart that is set on God is a heart that follows those key principles. In the end, there will be no better way to invest our time and effort than invest them on God. So determine in your heart today to be about God, to love and commit your life to Him. Set your heart on God.
To my lovely single men and women, you have an advantage over others during this season of your life to set your heart completely on God. You can fully dedicate yourself to investing time with the Lord and sharing His teaching to the world around you. Use this time of your life wisely and fully. This is your time with Him, just you and Him. Take advantage of it.
Father in Heaven, thank you for being an incredible God who showers me with love. Help me to respond to your love by setting my heart on you and things in Heaven. I want to determine in my heart to follow you, be faithful to you, obey you and share all that your Spirit teaches me from your Word to others around me so they too may discover the love and abundant life you have for them.
In Jesus’ name,
Psalms 119:93; 97-104