Exodus 17:1-16; 1 Peter 4:7-19; John 16:16-33
To be self-controlled and sober-minded is not to be glum. Indeed, it is the precondition to real, deep, and lasting joy! Self-control means you have looked unflinchingly on the state of your own soul in the light of God’s Word and responded with loving firmness to it. Sober-mindedness means you have done the same with the world. In his sermon, “The Weight of Glory,” C. S. Lewis noted that the greatest joy could only exist “between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.” If we have really taken a spiritual inventory of our own souls, we cannot help but have compassion for the weaknesses of others. This lays the foundation for true joy in the communal spiritual practices Peter outlines for us and the love that “covers a multitude of sins.”
“It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it. And even more courage to see it in the one you love,” correctly wrote the death-bed convert Oscar Wilde. This was the courage of Christ in Gethsemane. Let us have such courage this day!
Prayer: O Christ our God, who bore the sins of the world with clear-eyed compassion, bless me that I may see my sins clearly and so look on others with sober-minded empathy; in your holy name. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Brett Jenkins, NALC pastor.