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.
Moral effort is using human strength to live for what we value most whether it is the priority of self, religious or society norms, or a relationship with God.
“The price of Christ is something, in a way, much easier than moral effort—it is to want Him.” (C.S.Lewis, Present Concerns)
According to biblical history, Israel turned away from God’s instruction [law] for how to love Him and others in a righteous way; therefore, the people reaped the separation or distressful exile into which they had actually sown by their moral efforts. They were living [sowing] with a wrong or divided priority hoping they could still reap the blessings from God. Think about Adam and Eve and the exile they faced from the blessings in the Garden. Consequences come with our deliberate sin against God [knowing it is wrong but doing it anyway]. When we deliberately sin, let’s be honest, accept the consequences for our rebellion and call on the Lord for mercy and help to deliver us. Despite our foolishness and weakness, God is faithful, good, and strong. In our passage today, the psalmist returns to prayer because life is so difficult it leaves sickness in his soul; he seeks the true Cure for his distress.
Psalm 102:1-2 NLT
Lord, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea!
Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress.Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you.
Humanity typically views life from one of three perspectives and has a choice to make: 1) Live for self; 2) Live divided between allegiance to God and society norms; and 3) Live as Christ. We were created to live in fellowship with God and live as Christ who wholeheartedly placed himself into the Father’s divine care. Christ helps us live in that wholehearted place—holding nothing back. He offers the power to leave our selfishness behind and want Him more than anything the world has to offer. In our passage today from the gospel of Luke, the widow wisely chooses to live as Christ.
Luke 21:1-19 NLT
Looking up, [Jesus] saw the rich people putting their gifts into the treasury.
2 And He saw also a poor widow putting in two mites (copper coins).
3 And He said, Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them;
4 For they all gave out of their abundance (their surplus); but she has contributed out of her lack and her want, putting in all that she had on which to live.
Prayer: Lord, with all the world has to offer, it constantly leaves the human soul wanting and distressed. We are tormented when we try to live with a divided allegiance. Only you can fill and satisfy us. We live in a place of spiritual exile if we do not make the choice to be completely devoted to you. Please help us to take personal responsibility and release our unholy wants for the world in order to grab ahold of your glorious grace. We choose you! In Jesus’ name. Amen.