BEING DEVOTED MEANS BEING DISCIPLINED
10 For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel. Ezra 7:10
I want to start today by giving us all a definition of devotion. Devotion, as defined by Merriam Webster, is the "fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal". There are many things that we could all put into that category. Some of us have pets that are very loyal and dedicated to our companionship. Others have jobs that we are willing to give all that have in order that it will succeed. We are willing to put our blood, sweat and tears into something no more than an idea that we all believe will change the world for ourselves and others. Finally, others find themselves dedicated to a cause and are willing to live and die for that cause. Some times it may be for dreams of grandeur or may lead them to a complete loss of reality. We all have something that we would put our lives, reputations and dreams into in hopes of making our future a little more secure and a little less hectic. I just wish that there was a way to bottle up that desire/devotion and use it to really fight the battles that truly matter in this world.
Don't get me wrong. There have been many things that I have done in my life that I have devoted great time and energy into that have been successful and also very detrimental to my life and my family. There are things that I have hoped would change the world and people that I have invested countless years into that for one reason or another, they have chosen to follow their own path and devoted their lives to another calling. I am not saying that we don't live and learn and sometimes put our hearts on the line because of the things or people that we believe in that may be world changers. What I am saying is that we must
ALL recognize that if God is not in it, then we truly need to question if it is worth it. There are so many paths and directions that we could go with that statement, but I am telling you that we are walking along this Lenten journey together to find what God is ready to reveal. We are not walking this journey to prepare for what WE want or what WE think is right or wrong. NO, we are saying to God that we are willing to change our ways, our paths and our desires to focus and be devoted to GOD's WAYS and TEACHINGS. It does not mean that it will not intersect into the areas of our lives where God has been leading us with passion and desire. But it does mean that we will have a change of heart and mind as to the reality of the outcome that we are seeking.
Ezra was a mighty man of God who was devoted to following God's will for his life every step of the way. Ezra devoted himself to prayer, petition, scripture and teaching. WHY? Because Ezra wanted to do everything possible to transform his life into the disciple that God was calling him to be for his short stint in this world. Ezra did not question or doubt, but devoted his life to digging into the WORD and teaching others how to do the same. He watched as his thoughts were being transformed by the WORD of God and he experienced a warming of the heart that led him to devote every aspect of his life to obtaining the goal set before him by God. He took his calling from God seriously and realized that he had to be devoted to following God's plan if he was going to find God's true purpose for his life. Ezra was given a command to go and take God's people from Babylon back to Jerusalem. He was called to teach the people of the importance of living a life filled with devotion to God. Through his devotion, God used Ezra to teach his people and they grew stronger in their faith and walked with a passion and purpose. They had to change their mindsets to thinking what was best for the community and realizing that God was going to pour into their lives if they would just open up their hearts and invite Him in.
So our challenge today is one that may hurt and cut a little. I am asking that today we take on the example of Ezra and become people who are willing to devote our lives to God. I know that may sound like a very simple suggestion, but that means that we have to truly take a look at the things that need to be removed and the things that God needs to take back over control of in our lives. It means that we are willing to become more disciplined in our thoughts and actions and not rely on what the world has to say about truth and joy. I pray that we realize that the WORD of GOD is in the transformation business and if we are truly
are willing to devote our lives to Him, we will be able to understand why Jesus was willing to sacrifice it all for God's creation. Jesus had a purpose that He was devoted and willing to die for and that purpose is staring you in the mirror each day. God is still in control and waiting to invite us all to a deeper understanding of grace which begins when we finally devote our lives and surrender our hearts FULLLY to God. If we are only willing to give half, it is not enough for God. If we are willing to give 3/4's that is not what God desires. He calls for EVERYTHING in our life to be devoted in service to Him. I know that is a steep price to pay, but after ALL HE devoted towards us through the blood of HIS ONLY SON, it seems that a bargain if you ask me. Father, Here I am. What can I do for YOU today? Amen.