Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Thursday after the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on November 18, 2021 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Philippians 3:12-16 (NKJV)
3:12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
St. Ignatius, on the way to his martyrdom, wrote to his fellow Christians in Rome, “Now at last I am beginning to be a disciple. May nothing visible or invisible envy me, so that I may reach Jesus Christ. Fire and cross and battles with wild beasts, mutilation, mangling, wrenching of bones, the hacking of limbs, the crushing of my whole body, cruel tortures of the devil—let these come upon me, only let me reach Jesus Christ!” (Michael Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers, p. 231). St. Ignatius knew that he was saved by grace and through faith. This faith made him reject this fallen world, and he longed to attain that perfection which was promised him in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, when he was sentenced to death for his confession, he rejoiced because he was about to receive his greatest desire: the removal of all sin.
In this life, we will never reach sinless perfection, although we will be perfect in the life to come. God gives to each of us a different level of maturity with which to resist sin and practice righteousness. Nonetheless, St. Paul bids us “be of the same mind,” that is, despise the fallen things of the world and desire the perfection of heaven where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father.
Prayer: O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Thy Holy Spirit, that being ever mindful of the end of all things, and the day of Thy just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with Thee forever hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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