Daily Devotion for December 25, 2009
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer from Psalm 18
Oh Lord, I will bless you at all times; your praise will always be in my mouth. I will glory in you; let the humble hear and rejoice. I will join with others to proclaim your greatness; we will exalt your Name together.
I sought you, oh Lord, and you answered me and delivered me from all my terror. If I look towards you I am radiant and my face is not ashamed. I called in the pain of my affliction, and you heard me and saved me from all my troubles. Your angel encompasses me when I fear you, and he will deliver me.
Oh taste and see how gracious the Lord is. Blessed is the man that trusts in Him.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
2 Corinthians 5:14-21
Why Do We Love Christ?
The love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
Comment on the Scripture
I have difficulty reading and understanding Paul's epistles. If I read them quickly, I hear a stream of Christian buzz-phrases, but the logic is unfathomable and the deeper meaning, lost. So I have to take very small bites and chew thoroughly.
"We are convinced that one has died for all." We not only believe, we are convinced — we have made up our mind and taken this fact as an absolute truth — "that one person died for all." Out of all the people in the world, one of them died for everyone. Not because he wanted to, not because he had to. He died to bring some benefit to everyone else. Once we really believe this completely in our hearts, "The love of Christ urges us on." Christ died because he loved us, and once we fully understand and believe this, we love him for it. Such strong love is a powerful force. This love propels us, upholds us; it puts wind in our sails and we walk with conviction and purpose.
But why did he want us to love him so much? Did he have a neurosis? Did he just want to be popular? Was it his dream to go dancing with Paris Hilton?
We know the answer, if we pray and examine our lives and hearts, because prayer will ultimately show us that we are full of sinful urges and thoughts. It is in our nature to live for ourselves. But living for ourselves is flawed. Our instincts, our minds, even our thoughts, are riddled with imperfection. Living for ourselves, therefore -- following our own minds and instincts as our guide and shepherd -- means that we will inevitably live, in part, for sin. We will destroy ourselves.
But Christ is perfect, full of good and holiness. To live for him is good for us; good for our souls, good for our neighbors and, I am convinced, good for our own lives while we are on earth. So when Paul says, "And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them,", he meant to do us a favor. We must let our love for Christ flow "like a mountain stream" (as the Bellamy Brothers put it) to the point where we live for him, not because he gets a kick out of people kneeling for him, but because it is the equivalent of following the only person who knows the way to heaven. Like sheep in a dense mountain range, we follow our shepherd because he's the only one wno knows the path to safety. Loving him and following him it is the only way to life.