Today I'm continuing the Lent Devotional series. Writing and posting late Saturday evening in Belle Plaine, Kansas....
“I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” - Jesus (John 14:30-31)
If you are ever tempted to doubt the reality of evil as an active force in this world, simply remember that Jesus believed it to be so. A Pollyanna outlook - unwilling to confront the possibility of darkness - simply plays into the hands of evil. In C. S.Lewis’s Screwtape Letters, the older demon acknowledges that his cause has much more power when Christians fail to concede that they are real.
At the same time we also have to understand that evil has no power over us. But we cannot defeat an enemy we refuse to name. Having named evil for what it is, we can go on to declare that “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that he is Lord....” (Phil 2:10-11) And that includes evil. Darkness has no hold on the Master - or Jesus followers.
Jesus often talked about how important it is to follow the Father’s commandments. Evil may have no power over us, but there is a condition to such assurance. The condition is our commitment to do God’s will and to follow his way.
“That is such narrow and old-fashioned thinking,” people say. “You sound legalistic, why should we act like robots, afraid to step off the straight and narrow?”
Not at all. We follow God’s commandments because we love him. When we stray from the path it is because our dialog has broken down, not because we forgot some trivial rule. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is,” scripture tells us, “there is liberty.”
A useful discipline of Lent, then, is to place ourselves where we know we will meet Jesus on a regular basis, and then we'll know his way. Because of this commitment, Christ's way will become our way, and the Pilgrim Path will become increasingly natural and clear.
What a remarkable place to be. Christ's assurance gives both hope and freedom. What a wonderful Savior.
PRAYER: “Jesus is a wonderful Savior, he will carry me through. Jesus is a wonderful Savior, he will carry me through. Jesus is a wonderful Savior, he will carry me through. And when the battle is done and the victory won: my Lord will carry me through.” (Source of lyrics: unknown) Amen