Ezra 9-10; Acts 1

Those who suffer from addictions and who have been in treatment know P, P & T by heart.  That is, you have to change people, places, and things in order to obtain and maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs. From what I’ve observed, staying away from places where substances are readily available and throwing away items related to alcohol and drug use are easier than separating from triggering people in one’s life.  The people who enable or share in the addiction may be childhood friends, parents, other family members on one or both sides, or a wife or husband or fiancé, or even a son or daughter.  Like those coming out of a life of substance abuse, the Israelites in Ezra’s time are being told to “separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the pagan wives” (Ezra 10:11).

Have you ever had to do this? I mean, because you believe in Christ, do you leave the party early before the serious drinking begins; or would you stop hanging around with a best friend because you have been convicted about gossiping, and she has not; or are you willing to prohibit a family member from coming to your house to end the angry outbursts and using God’s name in vain? Have you been accused of being “too heavenly minded to be any earthly good?”  Do these things even bother your soul?

How do we find the balance in being a witness to the unsaved versus separating ourselves from them? Especially when you love these people in your life, it may be difficult to keep peace with them without compromising your faith or your purpose in Christ.

Acts 1 gives us a picture of why it is important to separate ourselves from the world.  It is here, in community, where Jesus Christ shows up to breathe His Holy Spirit on His followers.  They are gathered together, away from the crowds, away from naysayers, and hidden from all who would hinder their love for Christ and for one another. All had left homes, families, children, jobs, prestige, and more to look foolish in the world’s eye. Yet here were a mere 120 followers of Christ who would change the world.

Can I leave all to follow Christ?

I would like to think so, and I have demonstrated an ability to avoid entanglements with people who are anti-Christian.  However, I have also noticed that I have envied those same people, and I have thought ill of them; but what is worse is that I have given little thought to evangelizing them.

Maybe the question should be, “Why separate?” Is it just to protect our Christian virtues?  Or is it to gain perspective by stepping back and observing rather than judging? We may need to put physical distance between us and those who are not of the fold, yet we are also called to witness to them.  Hard to do with your back to them.

Janet

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2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezra

2 responses to “Ezra 9-10; Acts 1

  1. Jennifer

    Exactly what I needed for such a time as this. Esther stayed silent for at least a whole year until God needed her to speak. When she did speak; she was not only a witness, but also used to save her people. She listened to God’s will for her life. She was sensitive to the Lord’s calling for her life. I believe that sometimes in life we are to witness and sometimes we are to be silent. Sometimes, it is in the silent moments or the times of separation that the Lord may choose to make the biggest changes in others lives and our own. I think that we all need time to meditate on the Word of God and seek Him and His kingdom first. In these times we will see God move in mighty ways. Sometimes, people see God through God in us, and other times they will just see God through His Word. I am personally in a time of silence, meditation, prayer, and separation. I feel like God is working in mighty ways through this time. We all get weary and in these times is when God renews our strength. I love the insight that you give in this blog and am encouraged to endure in my plan. All we can do is to take EVERYTHING to the Lord in prayer. Thank you for taking the time to make this blog.

    Jennifer Lacaria

  2. Getting away to be with God is always a special time. He is speaking and we are able to listen.

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