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.”Ezra 7:10
I love to study and teach.
I love sitting down with the guys I mentor to help them unpack and apply Scripture to their lives. I love the preparation and study that is needed to effectively teach others. I love the excited feeling I get when either a new truth or an old truth rediscovered in Scripture hits me. I just love the whole process of preparing and teaching the Bible.
But a trap I can easily fall into is to focus on how a particular truth applies to someone else without considering how it applies to me. I can read the Bible with other people in mind instead of reading it for my own soul. I love the study and teach part, but I struggle with the personal obedience part. This is dangerous because it can quickly lead to hypocrisy. Calling others to do things you yourself aren’t willing to do was one of the main issues Jesus had with the Pharisees and other religious leaders.
This one verse above about Ezra the priest shares a key truth for anyone seeking to effectively minister to other people: your ministry to others needs to flow from faithfulness in your own life. Ezra set his heart to study God’s Word himself, to obey God’s Word Himself (“to do it”) and then to teach God’s Word to others.
I will never effectively pass on to someone else something that isn’t true and real in my own life. I need to not only enjoy the study and teaching parts, but I need to find joy in the obedience part as well. I need to do that in my own life before I can expect those I teach to find joy in obeying in their own lives.
Lord, forgive me when hypocrisy creeps into my life. Forgive me when I slip into a mindset of “do as I say, not as I do.” Help me to not separate learning about you from obeying you. Through your Spirit, help me to be quicker to apply what I learn to my own life than I am to apply it to someone else’s life. My obedience to you conveys the message to the world that you are worthy to be followed and worthy to be worshiped. So help me to obey. Amen.