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.
It is easier to approve of love as a principle; it is much harder to actually love God and others in the self-sacrificial ways of Christ.
“In Love, our temptation is to look eagerly for the minimum that will be accepted.”
(CS Lewis; The Weight of Glory)
Knowing the Lord will remain true to his character is where God’s covenant people must place their hope. Sometimes our pain cries out for the glorious One to come and rescue us; life brings so many challenges and we have no ability to rescue ourselves. We must learn to wait patiently for divine help knowing God will be faithful to his promises as our Savior.
In our passage from the Psalter today, David requests God’s attention based solely on the Lord’s love and grace for him. David takes a humble posture, asks for help, and prays for his inner person to be preserved and strengthened in God’s love, because David knows every adversity he faces in life is an occasion to trust divine Love. He is confident of divine love being extended to him, because David knows if God has all of him then he will have the abiding God.
Psalm 86:1-7 NLT A prayer of David.
Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help.
Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God.
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly.
Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you.
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry.
I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble, and you will answer me.
Jesus brings a new covenant of love to every person who asks for salvation. In our passage from the gospel of Luke, today, Jesus is speaking with his disciples and he wants them to know how to carryout his work after his death. Evil inspired wicked men to plot the death of Jesus, but God took what the enemy meant for harm and used it to save humanity. As Jesus teaches the disciples about his sacrifice, he reminds them self-sacrifice is the way to eternal life. We must all carry our cross which is far more than just carrying a burden; we must be willing to die to ourselves. We cannot serve two masters: Christ AND our flesh. If Christ so loved us he willingly laid down his physical life to give us eternal life, then certainly we can lay down our fleshly desires in order to honor and live for him. Christ must increase; therefore, we must decrease.
Luke 9:20-26 NLT
20 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Messiah sent from God!”
Jesus Predicts His Death
21 Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone who he was. 22 “The Son of Man must suffer many terrible things,” he said. “He will be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.
Prayer: Lord, help us to make the righteous decision to lay down the demands of our flesh in exchange for your life and power. We have no desire to sit on the throne of our lives; that is your rightful place as our Savior. In Jesus’ name. Amen.