The Daily Office | March 15, 2018
Psalms 75, 76, 77
Exodus 35 (36)
Exodus (37) 38
1 Timothy 4
Collect: Ash Wednesday
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: The Fourth Sunday in Lent
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Lent is an important season in the way that it reminds us of the depth of our sin. We tend to believe that God is concerned only with our bad behavior, but once we get our act together, we will be good to go. Sin is, however, much more serious than this. The brokenness of sin affects us at our deepest level, infiltrating our hearts to the very core. Our actions are only the symptoms of our sin. The real issue with sin is the rejection of God in our hearts.
This is the issue Jesus is confronting in our gospel passage. Jesus is speaking to people who have started to believe in him (v31), yet his words “find no place” in them (v37). Although they have shown signs of belief by following Jesus, they have not allowed his word to abide in their hearts. Their belief is surface level. It has affected some of their actions, but not their deepest convictions. Jesus wants his word to abide deeply in us that all sin would be uprooted. He says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (vv31-32).
Throughout this week, as you spend time reading and meditating on Scripture, ask the Holy Spirit to write God’s word on your heart. We too often read his word as a way of checking off a spiritual discipline to please God and make ourselves feel better about our spiritual health. Instead of reading Scripture in this way, take some time to meditate on the Word, allowing it to reshape your thoughts and desires. Allow the Word to confront the sin that is still rooted in your heart. When it does, confess it to God. He is gracious, and quick to forgive. Once the Word begins to abide in your heart in this way, you will begin to experience the freedom Jesus has promised.