Daily Lent Devotional #14 (March 22, 2011)

Proverbs 8: 12-16

12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
   I possess knowledge and discretion.
13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil;
   I hate pride and arrogance,
   evil behavior and perverse speech.
14 Counsel and sound judgment are mine;
   I have understanding and power.
15 By me kings reign
   and rulers make laws that are just;
16 by me princes govern,
   and all nobles who rule on earth.”

“Prudence” is a word that is not common in our modern language, but has incredible importance for the life of a Christian.  Here’s some basic definitions for it:

–        to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason

–        skill and good judgment in the use of resources

–        caution towards danger or risk

Today’s devotional comes directly from author and professor Henri Nouwen.  He challenges us today to protect our innocence and to use prudence as we make our daily decisions:

Being a child of God does not make you free from temptations. You might have moments when you feel so blessed, so in God, so loved that you forget you are still living in a world of powers and principalities. But your innocence as a child of God needs to be protected. Otherwise, you will easily be pulled out of your true self and experience the devastating force of the darkness surrounding you.

This being pulled out may come as a great surprise. Before you are even fully aware of it or have had a chance to consent to it, you may find yourself overwhelmed by lust, anger, resentment, or greed. A picture, a person, or a gesture may trigger these strong, destructive emotions and seduce your innocent self.

As a child of God, you need to be prudent. You cannot simply walk around in this world as if nothing and no one can harm you. You remain extremely vulnerable. The same passions that make you love God may be used by the powers of evil.

The children of God need to support, protect, and hold one another dose to God’s heart. You belong to a minority in a large, hostile world. As you become more aware of your true identity as a child of God, you will also see more dearly the many forces that try to convince you that all things spiritual are false substitutes for the real things of life.

When you are temporarily pulled out of your true self, you can have the sudden feeling that God is just a word, prayer is fantasy, sanctity is a dream, and the eternal life is an escape from true living. Jesus was tempted in this way, and so are we.

Do not trust your thoughts and feelings when you are pulled out of yourself. Return quickly to your true place, and pay no attention to what tricked you. Gradually you will come to be more prepared for these temptations, and they will have less and less power over you. Protect your innocence by holding on to the truth: you are a child of God and deeply loved.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on March 22, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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