Isaiah 44:9-20; Ephesians 4:17-32; Mark 3:19b-35
“Hardness of heart” appears throughout the story of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, where God repeatedly hardens Pharaoh’s heart so that God’s power may be demonstrated against Pharaoh, and so future generations are encouraged by the story of God’s deliverance (Exod 10:1-2).
We may not expect God to work this way in our own lives. Perhaps Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase speaks clearly of our spiritual state: “They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore” (Eph 4:18, The Message).
Rather than looking outward to God for my spiritual condition, I do better to look inward. I have met the enemy, and it is me. I have made so many other gods—“busy-ness,” opinions of others, family, personal pleasures and pursuits, my job—that I’ve “lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. (I) can’t think straight anymore.” In the words of our liturgy, “we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.” We have a great opportunity in this new year to “repent”—to turn around mentally and spiritually. As we refocus our attention on God, our attitudes and actions will follow.
Prayer: Dear Father, grant us the eyes of faith we need to see you and ourselves more clearly. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Allen Schoonover, Associate Pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church, Noblesville, IN.