A Lenten Devotional, Day 13

This season, we’re blessed with a set of Lenten devotionals by contributing author Lee Hinkle.  Find out more about Lee at the bottom of this article, or at hinkledownunder.com.

Reading

John 5:30-47 (ESV)
Isaiah 44:9-20 (ESV)

Meditation

Let’s be honest about something, shall we? When we read the Gospels or the Prophets we really don’t like to identify with the Pharisees or the rebellious nation of Israel. We like to believe that we are beyond this type of blind antagonism toward God and His word. We want to believe that we are the remnant, the faithful few who will be there in the very end. Like Peter, we cry out, “I will lay down my life for you.”

We want to believe that we are the remnant, the faithful few who will be there in the very end.

And the Truth is that those of us whom God has called and preserved are the remnant. The Truth of our lives is that God, through Christ laying down His life, has made us the True Israel. We are this; but the “true” that we often operate in right now tends to reflect the same heart posture as the Pharisees, Sadducees and rebellious Israel.

“You refuse to come to me that you may have life,” Jesus says in John. “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” Your systems of righteousness, your interpretation of Scripture and exposition has led to blindness, not sight. You look for a revelation that meets your own desires. The fulfillment of Scripture is in front of you, and you refuse to see it because you are too busy patting each other on the back about how you have figured out what God is doing.

We fashion idols out of the things we value most. We do work, eat, provide shelter and warmth for ourselves, and fashion gods out of the same material.

Isaiah reminds us that we fashion idols out of the things we value most. We do work, eat, provide shelter and warmth for ourselves, and fashion gods out of the same material. Verses 19-20 say, “No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, ‘Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?’ He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, ‘Is there not a lie in my right hand?'”

Our descriptive hearts so quickly convince us that our adherence to right doctrine is what saves us. Our hearts so quickly convince us that our diligent worship and Bible study make the way of entrance into God’s favour. Our hearts so quickly convince us that our courageous acts of mercy and service wash us clean of our selfishness and present us holy for God’s acceptance. A cause, a system, a style, a method can quickly become God for us. They are the things that we put our hope in for salvation and righteousness. We think that we are feasting on the goodness of God’s Truth and find our mouth full of the ashes of our burned “true”- the thing we have elevated in place of the Gospel.

Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection is the only thing that matters. This is the Truth. It is only through Jesus that we can become sons and daughters of God. It is only through Jesus that we become who we were created to be. Jesus is our all-in-all. I am to believe. Trust. Rest. Worship.

Prayer

Father, turn my eyes away from all my idols. Turn my eyes toward your Son, Jesus Christ. Let me look fully at Him and see His sacrifice and victorious resurrection as my only hope. Teach me to trust that you have done everything that is needed for my salvation. Keep me from trusting the things that do not lead to righteousness, but away from it. Keep me from putting my faith in my own actions and desires. Keep me from trusting the good things I do to provide me anything. Let them be acts of devotion, worship and thanksgiving springing from a broken and soft heart that is being lovingly restored by your Truth and righteousness. Amen.

Lenten Action

Often our striving and clinging to idols springs from the thought that we could not possibly be loved by God the way that we are, so we think and feel that we need to do something first before coming to God. Take time during this Lenten season to put to memory Romans 8. Don’t do this to gain anything, but to serve as a reminder that God has already gained all that you need. This is the Truth of who you are.

• • •

Lee Hinkle is an American pastor who, with his family of 7, felt God’s call to pack up and plant a church in Fremantle, a town in Perth, Western Australia.  Last Summer, the Hinkles left Indianapolis and arrived in Oz to begin their work.  You can follow their adventures at hinkledownunder.com.

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