Editor’s Note: Pastor Scott Peterson continues to share devotions from some of his favorite authors.
May 4, 2020 – Ready for the Lord
My Lord, I have no clothes to come to thee;
My shoes are pierced and broken with the road;
I am torn and weathered, wounded with the goad,
And soiled with tugging at my weary load;
The more I need thee! A very prodigal
I stagger into thy presence, Lord of me:
one look, my Christ, and at thy feet I fall!
–from Diary of an Old Soul by George McDonald
Ready for the Lord by Alvin Rogness
His doctor told him he had but six months to live. He told his pastor that he was afraid to meet God, and added, “I know I have to be cleaned up before he will let me in.”
Aren’t we all inclined to be like that? Dare we think that God will receive us as we are–with the dust and grime of our lives? We have disappointed and hurt so many people by what we have done and, even more, by neglecting the many things we might have done. If we were to list them, they would fill page after page.
The glorious news from God is that we need not get cleaned up at all to be ready for him. He comes, accepts us as we are in faith, then goes to work to clean us up after we are with him. Our hearts are filled with unworthy guests—pride, envy, greed, defensiveness. When the Lord enters, these low visitors become uncomfortable, and one by one will be on the way out.
They do not leave willingly. They will dig in for a long stay, even if they are uneasy. We will need to make sure that Jesus has a firm place with us. This we do by faithfulness at worship, by prayer, by the nurture of his Word and Supper, and by service with our Lord to all who are in need. All this is so repulsive to the low rabble in our hearts that they well may give up on us.
“Jesus rebuked him [the unclean spirit], saying, ‘Be silent, and come outof him!’ And the unclean spirit came out of him” (Mark 1:25-26).
Alvin Rogness (1906-1992) was president of Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN, from 1955-1974.