Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Devotions on the Lectionary: Pentecost 13, Second Lesson

by Michael Schottey

Hebrews 12:2 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (NIV)

Have you thought about your faith lately?

Are you like some Christians who don't think about their faith at all? Is "church" just something you sit through on Sunday--desperately sitting through sermons which seem too long yet are infinitely shorter than your favorite T.V. show?

Or, perhaps worse yet, do you think about your faith too much?

A ubiquitous strain of Christianity is the introspective strain of Arminian theology that puts far too much emphasis on the strength or power of one's faith. Tune your radio dials to any Christian Rock station and you are sure to come across these ideas. (Note: then tune away as quickly as possible.)

Take this simple faith test: Look around you, are you in heaven? No? Then your faith can get stronger.

Yet, rather than follow the false path of self-help, self-perfection, or introspection..."Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."

Nothing more is needed: no special hints, tips, or tricks; no special prayers; no special training.

The reason you have faith is Jesus. The promise of the salvation he won for you is the only food your faith needs to survive. He has given you his word and sacraments, true and changeless, as a fitting banquet. This feast of his providence is the one-thing-needful.

The glory he laid aside is yours, that your faith might live and that it may grow.

Prayer: Dear Lord, fix my eyes on you. Avert my eyes from the sinful world around me--those things which would harm my faith and my eternal salvation. Keep my eyes looking upward toward you, not inward at myself. Keep my focus on you and the salvation you have won for me. Guide me on my path to Heaven! Amen!

My faith looks up to thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary
Savior divine.
Now hear me while I pray:
Take all my guilt away.
Oh, let me from this day be wholly thine!

May thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart:
My zeal inspire!
As thou hast died for me,
Oh, may my love for thee
Pure, warm and changeless be, a living fire!

CW 402:1,2

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