Intro: During this Lenten season, every devotional will begin with a quote from C.S. Lewis (author and theologian), followed by two readings: 1) A passage from the Psalter and 2) a writing from one of the Old Testament prophets or New Testament authors. We will look at both passages as a whole through the fulfilling work and wisdom of Christ—Truth.
God is calling us into perfection by renewing us and making us like Christ.
“The question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when he made us.” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)
In our passage from the Psalter, David sings about the wisdom of God that is revealed to humanity in creation, as well as the wholeness found in God’s Word. In Hebrew, the word “shalom” denotes wholeness, completeness, perfection, well-being—a manifestation of blessing! God’s creative power is observable in order to bring him glory. That same power God intended for creation is the same power God will use to renew each one of us as we follow his instructions or Truth. The Word changes the way we think—it spiritually renews and revives us to become what God intended.
Psalm 19:1-8 NLT
1The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens
and follows its course to the other end.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
7 The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The commandments of the Lord are right,
bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
giving insight for living.
In our passage from the gospel of Matthew, Jesus is teaching his disciples about genuine love in the shalom of God. How we love people reveals whether or not we are children of God being made whole in Christ. When we invite Christ into our lives and allow him to rule, he will not stop working within us until we radiate God’s glory and wholeness. Oh, we can try to push him aside, but Christ never gives up loving us into perfection. The love of God flows uninterruptedly from the core of mature believers. The Holy Spirit works until the Father is pleased and we become what he intended when he made us.
Matthew 5:43-48 NLT
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Prayer: Lord, we praise you for working in our lives by making us whole in your shalom and filled with your love, grace, and glory. Thank you for pursuing us each day to renew a right spirit in us and transforming us by the inner God-life we have received in Christ. Cause us to become what you intended when you made us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hope to see you Sunday in worship; live in the blessing!