I found a verse which touched me, in the reading of Ezra 3. The Israelites, now back in their own towns through God's move in Cyrus' heart and they are in the process of reconnecting with their God. The same God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,Who had called them His own.This verse moved my heart and searched my soul. Well isn't that, what the Word of God does for us. Hebrews 4:12"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart"
Ezra v3 reads "3 Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the LORD, both the morning and evening sacrifices. 4 Then in accordance with what is written, they celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles with the required number of burnt offerings prescribed for each day."- I wonder why the Israelites were afraid of the people around them. They were back where they were meant to be, Jerusalem and their own places. Of course, they themselves, in their disobedience had mingled with the outsiders and now the outsiders are watching them. Were they afraid, they're seen, worshipping God, finally. Or were they feeling foolish, doing something they had not done for quite some time now-worshipping the One True Living God?
My pondering upon the Israelite's life at this current juncture ushered me into my life and I thought-
- Everyone wants to be like everyone else-Aren't we afraid to show our faith sometimes, because that might jeopardise our popularity with the people around? Aren't we afraid people might be seeing us pray blessings on our food, when in a restaurant? Are we afraid of being identified with the people walking on the narrow-road? Aren't we afraid of being called "narrow-minded" people just because, the others are in a bar and we don't want to go. Aren't we called or looked on as someone foolish, just because we didn't take the short cut to clearing an exam and landed up a job a year or 2 later than the others.
- The flip side of not being like everyone else, but being your unique self, the way God made you-I realised sometimes, knowingly or unknowingly I have done that, I have been afraid to show my faith, but then I cannot deny the times, when I have displayed my faith, like Peter-walked on water and have seen my God work that for a miracle in someone's life. Yeah it did seem foolish at the time, but when it was over, when I had conquered the fear of being called a "weirdo" and went ahead and prayed, or done that act of faith anyway, I saw God step in and take over. I sometimes imagine God saying "Ok, back off , you heard what my child just said. She's not going with you." Then He takes over the battle.
- God wants to identify with us-God likes us the way we are, thats why we are the way we are, and He loves us just that way and wants to identify with us, whatever we are, knowing what we are capable of becoming under His guidance. Then why are we reluctant to walk on our calling in little tasks that we do, daily? Our God wants to identify with us, why are we afraid of letting everyone know, what a wonderful Person our God is?
Conclusion: Jesus said"John 15:15 "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."
Isn't that our calling, to be unafraid and be bold to shine out for our Father in Heaven. Imagine if the Christians, after Jesus' crucifixion had gone scared and not preached, thinking people might think they're lunatics!!! They didn't, infact they were willing to lay down their lives, their prides, in order to boldly proclaim, "Jesus is the Only risen Lord". They died preaching. What am I doing?
Therefore I encourage you and myself "1 Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."