Monday, January 4, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 1/4/10

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”
Titus 2:11-12

What is a righteous, godly life amidst our present age?

Through the teachings of divine and Holy Scripture we are taught by the Lord, our God, what is necessary to live a life that is pleasing to Him. We are guided by the power of the Spirit to a life that shines forth His righteousness as we look to the lessons and the teachings of the Christ, letting it instruct us, reproof us, rebuke us that we may walk in His precepts during all the days of our time of grace. (2 Timothy 3:16) It offers to us all that we need to be the people God intended us to be, the people that He wants us to be in His wondrous plans for us.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the teachings of our Savior that tell us how it is that we are to love. After all, that we may prove ourselves His disciples we are to abide in it, letting the same love that guided him guide our hearts and our souls, our spirits and our minds each and every step that we take. (John 13:34-35) It is a love that places the Lord our God first, knowing that He fearfully and wondrously created us by His hand (Psalm 139:14) and that loves our neighbors as ourselves. (Mark 12:28-31)

For this we are to live with courage, regardless of the dominant assumptions and teachings of our age, letting the overwhelming, overshadowing, encompassing presence of the Lord draw us to a deeper, higher calling for our lives as we are led by His hand. It is to consider the needs of the poor and the oppressed, to help the weak and the subjugated, to provide for those who have not with that which we have. It is to realize that “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”, (Matthew 25:40) realizing that for our lives to be given in service to God it must be given in service to one another.

It is the very basis of freedom, that base, fundamental core understanding that whispers into our ear that no man may be free while his neighbor is not. Christ shall always be the intangible spirit of freedom that we can never fully grasp so long as we forsake His lessons of liberty, our spirits shall never quite find justice so long as we fail to struggle for the abiding spirit of freedom for all people from whatever force of evil that may seek to subjugate and oppress them amidst this world. As sure as the Savior came to ransom all of mankind, setting captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8) He bound us together in brotherhood with one another that the pains of one are the pains of all mankind, and the persecution and repression of one is a tyranny over all.

Throughout this world there are those who live ungodly, unrighteous lives given to worldly lusts. They seek out their own ambition as they are guided by their own hatred and malevolence. Wickedness and iniquity mark their way as they cast a veil over the eyes of men, darkening our path through their ill will towards others. They take prisoners and captives, they make slaves of men and women, robbing the dignity from their lives as they cast them to bitter bondage and pained iniquity. In their eyes life is held cheap without any intrinsic value or worth to it as they march forward with their grim, pained death march marking their way.

Yet their unrighteousness does not need to rob us of our peace and our comfort, for through our lives, in our lives, we have the promises of God. They are the same promises that have guided generations of saints and apostles, martyrs and prophets, and they whisper to us in even the harshest of days, that our God shall never fail us or forsake us, He shall never abandon us or leave us. Though the paw of the lion may be upon His people and the roar of the bear may break through our courage, we have the blessings of a Heavenly Father who will protect us through all the days of our lives, showing forth His grace, mercy and peace for us in all that we are and all that we do.

By the love of the Lord we can live a righteous, godly life, one given in service to Him and to our fellow man, for when we take up the cause of the persecuted and the oppressed, the captive and the slave, those ripped from their lives by the most brutal of tyranny we take up the cause of the Lord our God. When we fight for their freedom, offering our humble supplications and prayers, giving to charities that help the families left behind, educating others about the threats that are out there, and doing whatever we can to bring this unrighteousness to an end we are living that life that we are called to amidst our faith as we live according to the will of our Heavenly Father, showing forth His grace and compassion in our lives.

After all, the love of Christ, is that the yoke of slavery shall be lifted off of all men and their burdens may be made light. That may be a physical struggle or emotional struggle, it may be a moral struggle or a spiritual struggle, but it is always a struggle… one for the light and the love of the Lord that it may come shining through a darkened world to bring forth a peace that transcends all human understanding amidst His righteousness.

What then will you do to shine that righteousness in your life? What will you do to live that godly life given in service to Christ and to His Word as you let His Spirit encompass your being? Will you hear the calling to freedom and take up the fight even against the present world and its encompassing challenges? Or will you hear the voice of the Lord, and like the great men and women, the blessed saints and martyrs before you, say, here I am Lord, send me to do Your work that Your will may be done on earth as it is in Heaven?

The calling of a life given in this service means all of us, and even the smallest contributions we make to the cause of the freedom of God’s people makes the biggest difference in their lives and in ours as it grows into the greatest of hopes even amidst all of the dark challenges and abiding struggles that we face. As we then go forth into the New Year, ours should be to give this year a new birth of freedom… that lasting freedom that can only come from one place, the mercy, compassion and grace of our Lord through our Savior Christ Jesus. It should be our deeper calling and our deeper love for our fellow man as we look to the new creation of our new heart and come to realize that our lives are not our own, for they belong to God in the liberty Christ purchased for us, that we may imitate Christ and follow the Lord that our lives may be given to the purchasing of liberty for others.

Then shall we truly live the life that we are called to, putting behind us our own worldly lusts and our selfish vanities and fighting against them in others that they shall never have the opportunity to rob others of what God has given unto us and them. All for the greater callings of our lives that we live in true service to our God and to one another in the life that He desires for all of us.

Lord, in Your wisdom, grant this unto us all.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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