Currently I am going through Brennan Manning’s prayer devotional on my Kindle, Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayer. I was extremely convicted by the evening devotional/prayer for the thirteenth day and thought I would share it here with you in its entirety. BTW … I am thoroughly enjoying this prayer devotional and recommend it.
Each morning and evening prayer devotional consists of a key passage of Scripture, an excerpt from one of Manning’s books and then a Dear Abba prayer. With that in mind here is the day thirteen evening entry:
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40
The Jesus-and-me mindset tells us that all we have to do is accept Christ as Savior, read the Bible, go to church, and save our souls. Christianity becomes simply a telephone booth affair, a private conversation between God and me without reference to my brothers and sisters. I go to church on Sunday while the world goes to hell. When preoccupation with my personal salvation drugs me into such insensitivity that I no longer hear the bleating of lost sheep, then Karl Marx was right: Religion is the opium of the people. –The Signature of Jesus
You did not call us into an isolated salvation but one knee-deep in community, shot straight through with men and women and children of the ragamuffin variety. Your magnificent saving plan is not just about me or even me and my closest friends, but rather the whole of humanity, even creation itself that groans day by day. When being a Christian individual slips into Christian individualism then I know without a shadow of a doubt that while the outside of my cup may sparkle and shine, the inside is floating with a dead faith’s bones.
Any thoughts, concerns and/or convictions based on what you just read?
Did you notice how in the closing of the prayer Manning alluded to Christian individualism being the same as being a Pharisee (consider the Eight Woes on the Pharisees and scribes revealed in Matthew 23:13-32)?
Oh Lord, too often my walk of faith has been little more than Christian individualism and my ears have been deaf to the bleating of the lost sheep … while I would seemingly be embracing the first and greatest commandment, my failure to also embrace second greatest commandment would reveal that I am in the midst of self-deception. Please forgive me Lord!
Father, give me the compassion you desire from me (Matthew 9:13) and that you modeled throughout your earthly walk:
Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:35-36 (NASB)
May I be used of You to help lost sheep come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil …
The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NASB)
Have Your way and Your will IN this vessel Lord … Have Your way and Your will!