Ezra organized a fast (so think self-denial) because he didn't want to go back to the king after bragging on God. The honor of God was at stake in Ezra's mind (not his own image). Pride takes care of oneself; humility sacrifices (and calls others to as well). Ezra wanted folks to be willing to sacrifice for the honor of God. That is the essence of every willing heart--laying aside self for HIM.
That is a key to humility for me: Will I sacrifice things I love for the honor of God? Or will I sacrifice everything just to get my own way--to honor my desires? Both humility and pride require sacrifice...but one brings death to self that gives way to life and the other just brings death.
Ezra practiced and taught something I may have already shared with you in the last week or two. But it keeps pressing on me, so I'll share again. We must move from believing in God to depending on God...and both are bound to our worship of God. The willing headed back to build the temple--but then they needed to depend on the protection of God to produce real results. Faith in God came before depending on God.
|Change My Heart Oh God|
Here's a starting quote from a commentary I went to this AM: "Repentance does not precede faith. It follows faith...or that faith is not genuine." Phew! McGee, the commentator, expounded on that saying that the world is not the one that needs to repent. They need to believe on Jesus Christ and be saved. But we church folk, we need to repent and come back to the One who delivered us. First we turn TO God and then we turn FROM idols. That willingness produces change and transformation! May this song bless you...and be our prayer today!