Parents, you know those threats… ‘If you don’t stop fighting, we are turning this car around and going home!” My friend works hard to follow through with these statements. She told me the words sometimes come out before she has time to think them through. In those cases, she is inwardly pleading with her children ‘please stop, please stop because she really doesn’t want to go back home; yet she will if they don’t listen.
For discipline to work at its best it must be consistent and have follow through. If I as a parent throw out threats of punishment but never follow through, the behavior won’t change.
Now let’s turn the direction of this thought. Christians can be great at making statements like: just trust God, God will see you through, just leave it in God’s hands. While all these and more are valuable truths, I wonder when was the last time we truly walked these in our lives?
Ezra found himself in a situation that called for follow through. King Artaxerxes had granted permission for Ezra and other Jews to return to Jerusalem. The king sent a letter with Ezra showing his support financially as well. So Ezra gathered his traveling party. He even sought out Levites to go along to lead worship. Leaving time was upon him and Ezra needed to follow through on his statements about God.
“There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our provisions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, ‘The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’ So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” Era 8: 21-23
Ezra made the proclamation that God would look out for them, now he had to walk it.
I wonder what statements and truths about God have we been sharing with others? Take a minute and think about it. Now, are we following through and walking that truth in our lives?
For example: ‘We walk by faith and not by sight’ is something I’ve believed for years. I have quoted it to others struggling with life. Yet it wasn’t until certain events left me in the dark that I began to really have an understanding of this statement as I walk it out daily.
Lord, I can be great at quoting ‘Christian’ platitudes and verses to those hurting or needing help. Help me to walk those truth statements I am so quick to throw out. May I walk in faith, teach me to trust you more, and show me how to be your arms of love to a hurting world. Help me to be consistent and to have follow through. Amen