"For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach the statues & ordinances in Israel."
There's ambition... desires... and having goals in life.
There's drive... aspirations... and a plan for one's future.
And then there's the instances when that coincides with God's will & purpose for one's life.
Such was the case for Ezra.
Ezra was an Israelite who grew up in Babylon. His family was part of the "exile" group - the best & brightest who had been taken away from Israel when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem. For two generations these Hebrews lived in a foreign land. Then one day, the new King (Artaxerxes) decided to let a remnant return home. Ezra was to lead the group. He had the King's full blessing.
The author tells us that Ezra had "set his heart to study the law of the LORD..." and to live it out & teach it, too! God must have given him that desire, for it proved to be just what the people of Israel needed! His return to Jerusalem helped revive the Temple & got worship started again in earnest.
What a gift it is to have it in your heart to do something that God created you to do... whether it's teach, help the needy, play soccer, sing, or any number of things. How do you know if it's God's will for your life (good question!)? Well, in my personal experience, I've come to see three good indicators:
- Does it bring you joy (does your heart "sing" when you're doing it?)?
- Does it bless others (God always gives us gifts/passions not only for ourselves, but to be a blessing to others!)?
- Are you making God "famous" with it (are people drawn closer to the Lord when you do what you do?!)?