A Devotion for 5 March 2021 Anno Domini (In the Year of Our Lord), the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13 ¶ Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
(Ecclesiastes 12:10-14; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“I believe it to be the duty of everyone to unite in the restoration of the country and the reestablishment of peace and harmony. Duty, then is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less.” General Robert E. Lee, Commanding General, Army of Northern Virginia.
We have civic duties, social duties, parental duties, and a host of others; but the greatest duty we bear is the duty we owe to God as His Elect people. The Lord is our Mighty Sovereign – our King, our Savior, and our Redeemer. There is no level of authority that approaches that of our Sovereign Lord. He is our Maker and our Sustainer. There is none beside Him who is able to save us into an everlasting joy and bliss.
What are our duties to God? They are precisely summarized by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13. We must keep the Commandments of God! Many have failed to comprehend this one principle of Godly living believing that they must bear a constant judgment against every innocent misstep they make in obedience of the Ten Commandments. We can, in fact, keep those Commandments inviolate through our possession of divine love.
“Charity (LOVE) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-13) This kind of love enables us to keep God’s Commandments. Though we fail in the letter of the Law, we may succeed in its Spirit of Love by obedience. Love conjoins both Tables of the Commandments together through Love. That is the Summary of the Law (Matthew 22:36-39).
To refine our specific duties, I have listed ten such duties we owe to God below:
- DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Those who diligently seek the Lord do not do so only one day out of seven, or even one hour of each day of the week. We seek the Lord in all we do and say. He is revealed in the Holy Scripture. There He may be found 24 hours in the day, and on bended knee does He ever commune with His elect. Our Lord is not a part-time Redeemer.
- PRESENT YOURSELF TO HIM: “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) Every day at morning formation, the soldier answers ‘Here, Sir!” as the roll is called at muster. He must present himself daily, and at the proper time, for duty. To be absent at Roll Call is a serious military offense. It is, likewise, a serious Christian offense to fail to present ourselves a living sacrifice to our God – just as long as we are LIVING! God has no need for a dead saint – living or dead! Many dead saints do walk the streets – dead in trespasses and sins.
- HUMBLE YOURSELF: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10) Can a Christian do anything out of the sight of God? God elevates those who humble themselves, and humbles those who lift themselves up. When we lift each other up by putting ourselves down, the entire company rises. That is a characteristic of a good leader, but also of every Christian.
- CONSTANTLY EXAMINE YOUR OWN ACTS AND MOTIVES: “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” (1 Corinthians 11:31) We judge ourselves by examining the deeper motives and desires of the heart. Do our actions, though perhaps right, rise to the compassion and love that has been extended to us through our Lord Jesus Christ. Have we been obedient in the Spirit of Love in all things?
- BE CLEANSED BY THE WORD: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) In reality, we do not cleanse ourselves when we take a bath – it is the water and the soap that cleanses. The same is true with the Word of God. His Word is the Water of Life. We are cleansed in baptism and made part and portion with Him in the covenant relationship. When I see a devoted Christian, it is not only Godly works that I see, but also a glowing appearance. The Word of God enters our hearts and germinates into a cleansing flood. Once the vessel is cleansed inwardly, then the outward appearance reflects that cleansing. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7) The hyssop mentioned is a purgative to cleanse the alimentary canal; the inner man is first cleansed, then the outer appearance reflects the same.
- AS A GOOD SOLDIER, BE ARMED: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.”(1 Peter 4:1) A good soldier is never parted from his arms. We have been commissioned by the Highest Power to do the daily battle of a Christian. There can be no delinquency in that service.
- PREPARE YOURSELF FOR SERVICE: “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 20) The Word of God is our Marching Orders and the Call of the Trumpet is our Spiritual signal. Be well equipped with the Word and Wisdom of the Word.
- KEEP YOURSELF FROM IDOLS: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1 John 5:21)All idols are not made of stone or precious metals. There are idols of the flesh, of money, of pride, and of position. The only One we worship is our Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ. Our currency is that of Heaven and not the world. We glory in our Savior and none other.
- MAINTAIN YOUR HEART IN LOVE: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 21) May I suggest that the Love of God encompasses all of His glorious Creation. We love, not only our fellow man, but the lower creatures of His making. We show cruelty toward no living thing.
- PRESERVE YOURSELF IN CHRIST AND HIS WAY: “For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good:but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” (Mark 10:49-50) If we are the salt of the earth, we must not be in constant contact with the world else we lose our savor. Salt will preserve us through the coming fires. Our Christian characters must be constant and unchanging.
These are only a small sampling of the duties we owe to God. Some lonely winter night when sleep escapes us, it might be well to count as many additional duties we owe to God as delayed sleep will allow.