Friday, March 7, 2014
Morning Psalms: 95, 31 | Evening Psalm: 35
Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 | Philippians 4:1-9 | John 17:9-19
In our Christian walks, there are two spiritual poles we can gravitate toward. Both are destructive for our faith.
On the one side, we tend to think too lightly of our sin. We believe that God does not care about our destructive behaviors. We may say “what does it matter, God will forgive anyway.” So we keep sinning with little concern. On the other side, we tend to think too lightly of God’s ability to redeem us. We lose our trust in God’s grace and slip into despair over our sins. We may say “all is lost, I am beyond hope.”
The truth of the Gospel is in the middle of these two poles. God condemns our unrighteousness, but He delights in helping us when we repent. The season of Lent is all about finding this middle path.
Our Old Testament reading today combats our lazy attitudes toward sin. God speaks through the prophet to judge Israel: “when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it” (Ezek 18:26). Today is an opportunity to take your sin seriously. When we keep doing evil, it is an injustice to God’s mercy. Today is a chance to hear God afresh: “Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.” (Ezek 18:30).
Meanwhile, our New Testament reading keeps us from despair. Paul reminds the Philippians of God’s goodness toward them in Christ and calls them to be thankful. This Lent, let’s remember Paul’s words of encouragement: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7).
Lord God, You took the condemnation for our sins upon Yourself in Christ Jesus, help us to realize the gravity of our wickedness and by Your Spirit lead us into repentance. Yet keep us from despair Lord, and in this season of penitence, remind us to put our hope in You, the God of our salvation.
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