I have an admission to make: the format of these daily posts and assignments hold a danger, and that is the temptation to make this into a formula or a list of things to “do,” instead of approaching them from a position of grace.
After yesterday’s post, I was reminded that the core issue is always being satisfied in Jesus. And I was brought back to grace. It is so important to get grace first and change as an outflow of that.
Jesus succors us with His grace and empowers us with intimacy and relationship… not rules. So as we approach today and the final few days, may I encourage you to go back to this: He is enough and we can be satisfied in Him. This isn’t a list of things to get right. It isn’t a determination to try harder. It is being satisfied in Him first and letting His nourishment bear fruit in our lives.
Perhaps today your “I will” needs to be a simple receiving of grace: “I will be satisfied in Jesus!” I’m praying for you and can’t wait to hear from you in the comments!
Day 16: Celebration of “I Will!”
Yesterday was hard.
But here’s the good news: yesterday was the difficult side of a very precious coin. Today we get to talk about the other side of this coin. Let’s read portions from Nehemiah 8.
“All the people gathered as one man at the square. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had given to Israel.”
Ezra read it aloud from daybreak till noon and all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law. But the people began weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, “This day is sacred to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Verse 12 says, “All the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food to those who had nothing, and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.”
What makes this interesting is that the Israelites in Nehemiah’s day were under Persian rule, living in a ruined city. They just discovered how they have not kept the laws and ways of the Lord. They have realized what their sin has cost them and are deeply grieved to see how far they have fallen from God’s plan.
If there was ever a time to be grieved and saddened by bad choices, this was it.
Yet God told them not to grieve but to rejoice because the day was sacred to Him. God was telling His people that even though they had rejected His ways, their turning point had come and it was a sacred day.
You don’t ruin sacred days with weeping! You celebrate them!
When you make the choice to start doing things God’s way and to live by His precepts in any given area, He considers that a sacred day. Rejoicing is in order!
Knowing the law (and by that we mean having an understanding on what God’s plan is for you in any given area) is a gift. It is not a burden. It is not a hardship. It is not an impossibility. It is a great and glorious delight. It is cause for rejoicing.
Understanding God’s way regarding your “it” is a gift. It is the means to abundant life.
In Nehemiah 9 and 10, the people followed up their seven days of celebration with a day of confession, repentance, and commitment. Verse 28 says they separated themselves from the neighboring people for the sake of the Law of God.
Today, I’m going to ask you if you are ready to take this step. In your particular area, are you ready to embrace the will of God and separate yourself from others who do their own thing, who walk however they please? Are you ready to do it God’s way?
This is not a step to be taken lightly or flippantly. It is not a formula to implement to earn God’s favor and reward. This is a choice to follow the Lord based on trust and understanding that His ways are full of life, peace, and joy.
Sometimes it takes a hard fall or two before we come to the place where we are willing to be intentional about our choices. If you are there, great! Move on to today’s action plan. If you are not there yet, ask the Lord to give you understanding and grant you the fear of Him in this area of your life.
Let’s follow the example set in Nehemiah 10 today and commit ourselves to follow God’s law in this area of our lives. You may want to read Nehemiah 10:28-39 for reference.
The Israelites listed out very specific things they were committing to do. They did not simply say, “We will follow the Lord.” Rather, they said, “We will not give our daughters in marriage to the peoples around us.” “We will take responsibility for giving a third of a shekel each year for the service of the house of God.” “We will bring the tithes to the Levites.”
Do you see how “I can’t” was changed to “I will” by listing very specific actions?
Today I want you to think about God’s plan and precepts (the principles, commands, and particulars) related to your “it” and from there, write out your commitment to follow them. Be very specific. Use the phrase “I will.”
For the example we’ve been using, the angry mom could say, “I will not use anger as a weapon to get results. I will not use harsh words with my children. I will repent and confess to God and my children when I sin in this way. I will put on love and kindness. I will choose patience. I will draw a child close when he or she interrupts my plans, instead of responding in frustration and anger.”
Congratulations! You are gaining ground! Can you hear the cloud of witnesses cheering you on? I can! And if you are stuck, go back to grace! Talk to us so we can encourage one another :)
See you tomorrow!
And a little P.S.? I’ve got a very special giveaway planned for next Wednesday, the 30th. I know some of you aren’t able to check in every day so I want to give you a heads up so you won’t miss it!
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