Wednesday of the Week of Lent I
Today’s readings: Deuteronomy 9:13-21; Hebrews 3:12-19; John 2:23–3:15
Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day… ” (Heb 3:12-13).
Today, I am exhorting you! Many are driven away from the church, or never come in the first place, because they are shocked and disheartened to find that there are those in the church who have evil, unbelieving hearts. If each of us in the Body of Christ would guard against ever having an evil, unbelieving heart, life, communication and ministry in the church would be more effective and faithful. How is it that evil and unbelief find their way into our hearts and into our congregations? The author of Hebrews says that we are sometimes “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
It is not difficult, at times, to see evil at work in congregations, as there are those whose hearts are hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. People sometimes tear down the Body of Christ, rather than build it up. Members of the Body, pastors included, sometimes think they, alone, are right. They won’t listen to others; they are not willing to communicate, to be chastened, to be reproved. This often indicates one’s heart is hardened.
How do we guard against this? How can I guard against MY heart being hardened by sin? By being grounded in the reality of the living God. Hebrews says, “For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end…” Our “first confidence” is stated in 3:1. As we are holy brethren, sharing in a heavenly call and considering Jesus the apostle and high priest of our confession, let us always strive to be holy brethren—a holy family, sharing in that heavenly call.
Prayer: Lord God, do not let our hearts be hardened—and make of us a holy family in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Lenten Response: Is your heart hardened toward someone in your congregation? Go to that person and extend the hand of reconciliation.
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.
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