The Devotion to Christ – Jesus knows exactly how to reach us

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By Brian Cook

When we pray “and lead us not into temptation” for The Our Father, our heart’s cry must be “Let me not fail the test!”

Our response must be opposite of the rich young ruler’s response in Mark 10:17-31. This is a call for our whole self and for all our life. This plea represents our understanding of our own weaknesses and our propensity to fail. It also demonstrates our faith in the love of Christ to give us the grace to pass the test. We come to the test wanting and willing to pass, desiring to lay down our gods that we may have Him! That is why we pray The Our Father and this is why we pray The Lord’s Prayer.

So, it is time for us to come to Jesus on His terms. His glory and His throne will not be shared. Jesus has earned the right to sit “on His glorious throne” in Heaven and in our hearts. This is the only way we can have what we truly want – A God Who fills our heart’s desires, Who satisfies our very soul, Who engages our whole mind and Who empowers us to use all our strength (every part of our body for all of our life) for love of Him.

God will be loved with our all, or we love Him not at all. This is the ultimate love story. It is His proposal and the decision is ours. Listen to the call of Scripture: “Today when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 3:15); “Look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28); “You, O Lord, are…the lifter of my head” (Psalm 3:3). These words echo the urgent hope that we will make our decision and by God’s grace pass the test, while doing it now and every day while the day is still called “Today” (Hebrews 3:13).

We are surrounded by temptation. Looking objectively at temptation, it always seems to be a consistent push towards getting “off track” followed by a myriad of other pushes to get us further and further off track until we are left in complete ruin and surrounded by lives that are in shambles.

It starts as a simple distraction that leads to fleshly satisfaction going a bit overboard and out of bounds. This further leads to a “go along to get along” temptation to take the easy way out and no longer push back against sin. This then leads to brief but destructive opportunities to lie, cheat and steal to get ahead. Further on there is addiction that starts to take over us, asserting more and more control over our thoughts and actions.

We finally end up in a desperately dark temptation to take advantage of the vulnerable or give into violent outbursts, destroying not only ourselves but everyone and everything around us. We become the devil we hate, and like the tempter, we roam around looking to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). We become the one looking to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

The great temptation is to settle for anything less than devotion to Christ. Keep in mind that we cannot serve two masters.

But we are called out from that wretched darkness into God’s marvelous light (1 Peter 2:19). We are called to empty our hands of lust and violence so that those same hands can lay hold of the one Who has first laid hold of us (Philippians 3:12). We are called to the purging of our hearts that, like gold refined in the fire, all the dross may be removed and a new and pure heart can seek and be satisfied by Him alone (Matthew 5:8 and James 4:8). We are called to leave the wide road of destruction and plant our feet firmly on the path of righteousness (Matthew 7:13 and Psalm 23:3). We are called to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Glory to You, Lord Jesus Christ, for You know exactly how to reach us! Strengthen us now to give up the gods you are calling for, that we may receive the God we are longing for! “Let me not fail the test!” In Jesus’s name, I pray, Amen.

Brian Cook is a Cropwell native and a graduate of Pell City High School, Gadsden State Community College and studied music and history at Jacksonville State. He and his wife Hope have five children. A self-described “on-again-off-again bi-vocational part-time” Protestant minister for almost 20 years, Brian converted to Catholicism in April 2021. They attend Saint James Catholic Church in Gadsden. With no formal training (Acts 4:13), Brian active in the Catechetical training of children and adults. His book “The Devotion to Christ” can be found on Amazon. He is available for speaking and teaching engagements in any parish, church, or group setting. He may be contacted at thedtc@protonmail.com or thedevotiontochrist@gmail.com.

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