Day 221: Identity Changes Everything

The Daily Word: Thursday, August 9th, 2018
Ezra 8:21-9:15
1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Psalm 31:1-8
Proverbs 21:1-2
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Commentary from Pastor Michael White:
And I said to them, “You are holy to the Lord; the articles are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering to the Lord God of your fathers.” – Ezra 8:28

How can you encourage someone to do the right thing?

Ezra was taking a leap of faith. He had a huge sum of money to send to Jerusalem for building the temple. He was trusting the priests and the Levites to bring the whole donation to Jerusalem on his behalf. Ezra wanted to encourage the priests and the Levites to do the “right thing:” to steward the funds well so nothing went missing!

But Ezra encouraged them instead of warning them. He didn’t say, “You had better not screw up!” Instead, he said, “You are holy.” He reminded them of their identity. He demonstrated and communicated complete trust in them, instead of implying or verbalizing any concerns.

The best way the change behavior is to instill identity. Remind people who they are, and change their perception of whom God calls them to be! Reinforce the reality that they are created in the image of God, and they will rise to the occasion! When people are reminded who they are, they will embrace a new standard of holiness.

Prayer:

Father, help me to encourage the people around me instead of scolding them. Thank You for our Biblical identity: we are sons and daughters created in the image of God. You trust me even though I don’t deserve it; so help me to extend the same courtesy to others, in Jesus’ name!

Archives
See commentary from this day in 2014.
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See commentary from this day in 2016.
See commentary from this day in 2017.

© Michael D. White, 2018. All rights reserved.