January 1, 2021

Unity of Spirit

God didn't just give us commandments for the sake of making us obey a set of rules. God's commandments benefit the community and make us whole. 
You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another.
Leviticus 19:11
As Christians set out on the path of a new year, it's good to say that we won't steal or cheat or lie—though that seems to be setting the bar a bit low. But these commandments have a much deeper meaning. We steal not only when we take what doesn't belong to us, but also when we withhold what belongs to others. We lie not only when we tell an untruth, but also when we refuse to tell a truth that would benefit somebody else. 

There has never been a time in my now sixty years that it has been clearer to me that our lives are shared with those of our neighbors than during this pandemic. Self-denial hasn't just been a private religious practice, but has been a necessity carried out for others. Even the simple act of putting on a face mask has for months now been an act that could save another's life. 

God didn't just give us commandments for the sake of making us obey a set of rules. God's commandments benefit the community and make us whole. To practice safety when disease is raging all about is nothing less than giving others what is rightfully theirs: consideration... and, ultimately, life. 
Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. 
 1 Peter 3:8-9
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Be with me, Lord, as I step out on the untrodden way of this new year. I know not what it may bring of joy or sorrow, of temptation or service; but I humbly commit myself and my way to you. Make the best that you can of me for your glory.
 F.B. Meyer 
After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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