Living in this Moment of God’s Unchanging Love

March 1, 2020

Growing up, when we were told stories that captivated our memories, many included a great battle.  Whether it involved knights in shining armor slaying dragons or great generals leading a small number of warriors against all odds to win, there always seemed to be a battle.  How do we take once upon a time and make it God’s time?

The truth is that the battle is real.  The truth is that good overcomes and beats evil.  In the desert, Jesus is confronted and tempted by the devil.  The battle is real.  The devil goes to the places of meekness and invites Jesus to denounce Himself.  Eat, surrender power to the devil, and show others you are God by obeying the commands of evil.  Living in the now we are invited to take up the battle; it is real.  The devil wants to distract us from who we really are, the devil wants to fulfill our cravings, whatever they may be.  The devil wants us to worship false gods of the present age.  We must be honest with ourselves to know the battle is on.  It happens every day.  Too often we have moved from battle status to laziness and exhaustion and due to this we do not sensitize ourselves to the battle and what leads us to battle.

Complacency of not putting ourselves in the desert and being aware of the evil that wants to take away our goodness is a sign that we have lowered our defenses and have become comfortable with our sin.  Sinful habits sometimes get pushed aside.  The other day at a gathering of priests, one pastor got us thinking about rationalization.  He told us “don’t mess with my rationalization of how I see things.” He spoke of this being one of the great challenges—no one wants to mess with the rationalization of another’s thinking.  Too often we have made up our mind about what is wrong and right.  We do not use the Ten Commandments or the words of Jesus as wisdom, but instead we make our own way.  So often we have rationalized our way out of the battle.  There is no real battle because we might think we have it under control.

In God’s time, living in this moment, the battle is real.  Society cannot give us good direction.  The voices of morality are muddled by the rationalizations of those who never want to go against the feeling of good.  The voices say if it feels good or it seems right to you, it must be right.  This hunger to be accepted and okay has made morality non-existent.  To confront anyone, to speak a truth other than what is popular is dismissed.  This battle is real.  To understand it, to reconnect with it, we need the desert.  We need to limit our information that comes from popularity and society and instead include the information that comes from biblical truth.  The only way to hear clearly the call to be a messenger of God’s unchanging love is to enter a quiet place.

May this week lead us to the desert of calm and quiet.  May we find the strength to fight the real battle of evil.  May we rely on what we know in our heart is true—God’s love, forgiveness and mercy.  It is real.

Reverend  John J. Ouper