Lenten Midweek Devotion 3
How the world has changed during these forty days of Lent. Interestingly the english word quarantine comes from the Italian word quarantina which means forty days. Perhaps the season of Lent 2020 will be remembered as one where we actually were forced to give up many many things. Some of those things were good things like education and school while others we probably were better off without anyway.
Throughout Lent for these Wednesday devotions I have been looking at the week's epistle lesson. It seems like another life time but the first three of these services were together with you in person, in the flesh. The last three have come to you in writing through our church's digital platforms.
I know many are worried and full of anxiety. I have seen already that this is taking a mental toll on many of you. So let's take a little direction to Paul's letter to the Romans. One encouraging thing is that all of the Bible was written at a time when war or famine, or pestilence or persecution was either currently happening or seemingly right around the corner. It was never just abstract for the original audience as it has been for so much of our living memory. These past forty days some of these abstract concepts of serious suffering have become a very present reality.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)
Often when we think of 'setting our minds on the things of the flesh' we may think of carnal pleasures or lust or some such thing. But it need not always carry this sort of connotation. The flesh is simply this life. Constant worry about health is setting the mind on the flesh. Worrying about food, worrying about anything temporal is a form of setting the mind on the flesh. We seek to supplant God and his promise to provide and figure it out for ourselves. But we end up in a circular worry pit, a trap that keeps us looping back over the same ground again and again. As we dwell on the things of the flesh we will ultimately always become discouraged because the ultimate conclusion will always remain the same.
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
The alternative, and something that is only available to us Christians, is to set our minds on the Spirit. We dwell on God and his Word instead of running on the hampster wheel of worry. We dwell on the cross and remember all accomplished for us. We dwell on the empty tomb... we listen to the still small voice and when we do this, an otherworldly life and peace sets in. The Spirit is life! The Spirit is peace! In the truest sense of those words. If you have trouble shifting gears from flesh to Spirit ask God for help, a quick prayer is all that's needed.
Dear Lord I seem to be very worried and the news is overwhelming me. Please allow me to set my mind on the Spirit and receive those gifts of life and peace. Allow me to take my eyes off of this life and remember the life to come won for me by your Son. Give me that peace that only you can give. Amen.