Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - March 10, 2023

Hymn: “O Christ, You Walked the Road” (LSB #424, v. 4)
When lures of easy gain
With promise brightly shine,
Lord, help us seek Your kingdom first;
Our wills with Yours align.
“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon, we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” This quotation comes from the fourth film in the Harry Potter series. Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is speaking to Harry about the dangers of Voldemort’s rise to power. Harry certainly did face dark and difficult times ahead, as did all of his friends, classmates, and professors at Hogwarts. Had Harry Potter chosen the path that was easy, it would have been a very short movie series indeed.

Do you feel like this quotation applies equally to the world in which you live today? The world around you is filled with choices between what is right and what is easy. It is easy to sleep in on a Sunday morning, but it is right to come to the services of God’s house. It is easy to withhold money on your taxes (who will even know?), but it is right to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. It is easy to gossip about your neighbor when they’re not around, but it is right to speak kindly in every instance. We are constantly confronted by the temptation to do what is easy.

The third attack of Satan against our Lord was to take Him up to a high mountain and show Him all the kingdoms of the world. “All these I will give you, if you fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). In other words, Satan offers Jesus the easy way out. The Father has appointed that Christ would receive all the kingdoms of the world, but through His suffering and death. Satan offers Jesus all of the glory without any of the pain. The easy road just requires a little compromise: falling down and worshipping Satan. Why don’t you take the easy road? It would save you a lot of suffering and pain.

And yet, when we take the easy road, it seems that our suffering multiplies. The way that God would have us walk is often narrow and hard, but it is good for us. It is the way that leads to life. This is why Jesus teaches us to “enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13–14). The easy road leads to destruction. The easy road leads to death. The easy road ultimately leads to hell.

The lures of easy gain are all around us. They are awfully enticing. However, this hymn verse leads us to pray for a heart that seeks God’s kingdom first and wants to be aligned with God’s will. It is often the case that God’s will and kingdom are hard, but they are good. Which would you rather seek: the easy thing that leads to evil or the hard thing that leads to good?

Sin is easy, and God’s will is hard for us to do. In fact, we shall not accomplish God’s will on our own. We must have the assistance of the Holy Spirit in order to do so. The only way that we shall worship the Lord our God and serve Him only is if God keeps us steadfast in this one true faith. Jesus countered the temptation of Satan with this truth. To align with God’s will is to worship Him alone, since God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). It is not as if we Christians who strive after this difficult road will be missing out. As Jesus promises: “All these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Posted in