Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

The Whole Of The Christian Life

EZRA 7:10 – For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.

THEME OF THE DAY. THE WHOLE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. Today’s scripture is a short verse but packs a lot of punch and instruction. It is like a piece of dynamite – small and powerful. What we see in the example of Ezra describes the “recipe” for living the Christian life. In fact, the whole of the Christian life is modeled by him. So, let’s come alongside Ezra and learn.

First and foremost is the determination to be “all in” with the Lord Jesus and living for him – For Ezra had set his heart. He weighed the cost. He knew what was involved. He understood to follow the Lord in an acceptable manner meant personal resolve, self-discipline, and encompasses the whole of one’s being. In the Bible, particularly, the Old Testament the heart isn’t just about emotions. It includes the will, the mind, and the emotions or the entire make-up of a person. And when it comes to a disciple of Jesus Christ, this is the only kind; the “all in” person who knows there is no area of life not in submission to Him in the pursuit of knowing, loving, and serving Him.

A natural response to the “all in” Christian is what Ezra does next – For Ezra has set his heart to study the Law of the Lord. When the heart is right with God, a passion for and a commitment to His Word occurs. We will read. We will study. We will safeguard time to be in His Word. And it won’t be “have to”, but attitudes of “get to” and “desire to.” It must be. A surrendered heart to the Lord always leads to the study of His Word. But not for study-sake and that leads to the third aspect of the whole of the Christian life modeled by Ezra.

The Christian life is a doing life; not to gain God’s favor or salvation, but because He has granted us His favor and salvation. Ezra set his heart to study the Law of the Lord in order to do it. Jesus told us the only criteria to display our love to Him is by obeying His commandments – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Let’s be very careful not to mindlessly sing, “I love You, Lord” in our churches without ensuring our lives give evidence the song is alive and well in our lives. As Ezra models, we study to know the Lord and OBEY Him. Study without obedience is to store up Biblical truth that leads to passive pride, never a growth in humility and Christlikeness.

The final application for the Christian life from Ezra is a passing down the truth we learn from and about God – For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. Pay close attention to Ezra’s progression – He set his heart to know God which led to studying His Word, taking Him to obeying what he learned, and then, teaching it to others. Friends, God does not reveal His truth and Himself to us to make us hoarders or storage bins of both. He teaches and reveals Himself to us so we would share with others. That is called evangelism and discipleship. Make it a point to share with others, not how God is using you or answering your prayers. There are times and places for this but the primary sharing we are to do with people, even unbelievers, is what God is revealing to us about Himself – who He is. And this is what makes the Christian life exciting – learning, obeying, and sharing who our God is and what He does.

Ezra. What a role model on living the whole of the Christian life. We will benefit greatly as we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus by following his example.

PRAYER: “Father, help me to see the Christian life is to be a learning, doing, and teaching life.”

QUOTE: “Our lives with Christ is never passive. It is a progressive life, all of life.”