March 18, 2011

Saturday, Lent Day Ten, Ember Day

The Lectionary
                                             
Morning - Psalm 101, Ezekiel 34:17-25, 30-31, 2 Timothy 2:1-15        
Evening - Psalm 19, Psalm 23, Ezekiel 37:21, 1 Timothy 6:6
2 Timothy 2:1-15
 1Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.   2And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.  3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  4No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.  6The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.  7Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.  8Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:  9Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.  10Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  11It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:  12If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:  13If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.  14Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.  15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.


            Commentary

"Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Tim. 2:3).  How many Christians think of themselves as soldiers of Christ called to endure hardness?  Do we not think more in terms of the hardness Christ endured for our sakes than of enduring it for Him?  Do we not tend to think of Christ more as a life enhancing commodity than a King leading His army into the field of battle?  Perhaps this is why so little real self-examination occurs in today's Church.

            Devotional Thoughts

Self-examination requires us to honestly examine our thoughts.  What do I think about most during the day?  What do I think about when I have free time?  Are my thoughts about getting more toys?  Having more fun?  Advancing my career?  Chocolate? Notice, these can be good.  It is good to enjoy God's blessings, to advance our careers, and to have fun. And I am certain God has nothing against chocolate.  But do we also think about God, the Scriptures, holiness?  Do we see ourselves as called to endure hardness for Christ?  Do we ever think that some of the things to which we devote ourselves may actually impede our service as soldiers of the cross?

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