Thursday, December 20

Three principles

Recently, I was reading in Ezra. In Ezra chapter 7, Ezra arrives in Jerusalem to help with the rebuilding of the Temple and re-starting the worship of God there. Verse 6 describes Ezra as "a scholar well-practiced in the Revelation of Moses that God of Israel had given." It was Ezra 7:10 that really struck me. It says that "Ezra had committed himself to studying the Revelation of God, to living it, and to teaching Israel to live its truth and ways."

To me, this is a perfect statement of what followers of Christ should be doing. We should be studying the Revelation of God, which is the Bible. The more we study it, the more we will really understand who God is and what his will is. It is one of the primary ways that God talks to us, and we need to hear what he has to say if we want to build a relationship with him.

But it isn't enough to just study the Revelation of God. Like Ezra, we need to be committed to living it. Too often, what we learn about God becomes head knowledge, but it doesn't go further than that. We don't always put what we have learned into practice in our lives and in the world. Ezra was committed, not just to knowing the scriptures, but to living them out in everyday life. We need to do the same.

It doesn't end there. We need to do more than just study the Bible and put it into practice. We need to teach others to do the same. This fits exactly with the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19, which tells us to "go and make disciples of all nations," or as the Message version puts it, "Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life." Too often, we leave it to others, especially the "professionals," to train disciples. But that's not the way it's supposed to be. If we are followers of Christ, then it is our job to train people this way of life. Sometimes we do that by example, sometimes we do it with words. But we should always be teaching people how to follow Jesus.

We are rapidly approaching the beginning of a new year, which is a great time to start new things in life. I encourage you to commit to following the pattern of Ezra in the new year. Study the Bible. Put those teaching into practice in your everyday life. And teach others to do the same.

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