A challenging word from Pastor Ken… AUTHENTICITY: The Unspoken Goal
“. . . to study the law of the Lord and to practice it, and to teach His statues and ordinances in Israel.” Ezra 7:10
Dr. Curtis Vaughn, renown Greek scholar and professor in Baptist life, was a personal mentor and friend whose influence significantly affects my life today, even years after his passing. One of Dr. Vaughn’s well-used teaching points was, “when you have recognized your humility you have just lost it.” Through this principle, he attempted to teach his students that the best things achieved in one’s life of faith can never be genuine and self-recognized at the same time. Therefore, any expression of spiritual authenticity ceases to exist when self-recognized. Also, such authenticity cannot be announced either as a goal or an achievement, but simply becomes a reality as one’s actions and attitude give way to a heart that truly seeks after God.
As an appointed scribe, Ezra’s personal life of faith exemplified spiritual authenticity in a clear and precise way. (Let’s engage with the pattern of his life offered in Ezra 7:10.)
- First, Ezra had purposed early on to study the Law of the Lord. He set his mind to purposefully obey God at every point. He did not stop at the mere intention.
- Second, upon studying God’s law, his desire was to “practice it.” Ezra was concerned about keeping the details of God’s Word, and not simply to embrace the law with a rote memorization. He studied for personal application. Can you imagine that upon every expression of God’s word you hear (in a sermon, bible study lesson, personal reading, a song, etc.), your initial reaction is not, “I know someone who needs to hear this,” or, “that would make a good bible study topic or sermon title”, but rather, “how can I better reconcile my own life to this truth?”
- Third, Ezra was committed to teach God’s Word, and to lead others in personally applying God’s truth.
Conclusively then, 3 steps that exemplify authentic living are observed from Ezra and applied to our lives:
- Study the Word of God so consistently and personally that the application of the truth becomes clear.
- Make the application through carefully obeying God’s truth at every point in your life.
- As you grow in your obedience to God’s word, be open to teaching His truths to others (intentionally influencing others through your faith). The teaching may be in the context of your parental role as you teach your children, in the context of your campus as you speak necessary truths into the lives of your friends, through personal feedback in church settings like small groups and Bible study classes, or in more formal roles of teacher and preacher. Writing, singing, and serving speak the truth as well. But do not sell yourself short. God has a word for you to share in the way He has designed for you. It may not be as a scribe like Ezra, but there is no unimportant way of living out God’s truth. Let Him open the door for your influence. You simply need to be ready. Allow the truth to flow out of you from within your own genuine encounter with God.
This constitutes for every Christ-follower how to live out one’s faith authentically.
Spiritual authenticity! That’s the unspoken goal. Now, don’t talk about it. Don’t wish for it. Don’t announce it. Simply go and do it.
Study, obey, and influence others. Live out what God is pouring in!
Blessings, Ken Pruitt
READ: Read and meditate on the following verses and be encouraged toward genuineness of faith: Romans 12:9; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 1:22; James 1:27; 2 Corinthians 8:8-9.