An excellent reminder and exhortation from Fr. Charles Erlandson at Give Us This Day last Friday:
But what should we give up during Lent, since this is a time of penitence and abstinence, and an intense season of fasting? The answer this year is the same as every year: we should give up ourselves. This is the true fast of Lent; this is the true fast of our lives. Every other fast in this life is so that we may stop depending on ourselves and give up ourselves to the Lord, weaning ourselves from our terrible addiction to self.
This morning, God is asking you to give up yourself to Him in a particular way: by giving up yourself to hearing and living by His Word, and not your words.
The “meat” of the devotional entry from which the above is excerpted centers upon 1 Timothy 4 and provides practical teaching in how we may apply the Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy in our own lives. I particularly appreciated this section:
You have the same sacred obligation to guard the Word of God with both your lips and your lives, as did Paul or Timothy. Paul is saying to you, “be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (verse 6.) God, through Paul, says to you, “be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (verse 12.)
God is speaking to each of us when he says, “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all” (verse 15.) And He is commanding you to “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (verse 16.)
God is just as insistent with you as Paul was with Timothy that you give yourself to God by giving yourself to His Word. God has entrusted to you His words of life: are you teaching them and living by them?
Note also the questions for reflection and a suggested “resolution”
To what degree can you say that you have given yourself to God and His Word? If you have not given yourself as fully as you like, examine the reasons why you fall short. Resolve to find one practical way to give yourself more fully.
Resolution: I resolve to find one practical way in which I can more fully give myself to God’s Word, either in word or deed.
The Rev. Charles Erlandson is a Presbyter of the Reformed Episcopal Church and is an assistant at the Good Shepherd RE Church in Tyler, Texas
Note: I’ve added Fr. Erlandson’s Give Us this Day site into my list of daily Lenten devotional sites. I’ve linked it in other years, and I had not meant to exclude it this year, but somehow it slipped of my list when I was working on the 2014 compilation of links. It’s a good site for daily online Anglican devotionals, in Lent and throughout the year.