LÖHE ON HEBREWS 12:4

AquilaIn your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Heb 12:4 NIV)

Our Lord is prepared to instruct us to use his weaponry and with this armor triumph. However these weapons do not necessarily fit our preference. We resist their proper use even if the Holy Spirit reminds us with some insistence that victory could easily be ours, we’d overcome most serious afflictions if we’d use what he offers us. However we tend to resist with indignant vehemence. Oh how easily we put off God’s word and crystal clear commands! Daily the powers of the coming Age are there to refresh us in showers of grace and vitalize us by submerging us in them. We are encouraged to dress up daily with Christ’s armaments and attain one crucial victory after the other. Yes, move from strength to strength as we battle in the name of the Lord. Yet too often we just don’t feel like it. We’re not up to the struggle against the enemy, whose just out to get us and destroy us for ever. We lazily remain in our afflicted state and hesitate precariously instead of moving decisively from the broad onto the narrow way to our salvation. This is playing with fire.

We’re double sinners really. On the one side we can’t say that the enemy is to powerful and we are incapable of standing up to him, because we have only had to deal with human struggles up to now. In no temptation did we have to fight to the point of shedding our blood. We always had a word of God at hand, with which the old evil foe is put into a corner and down and out. The Holy Spirit was always there with vigorous help indeed – to carry us up and away as on eagle’s wings miles above the long stretch of deserts, treacherous precipices and insurmountable cliffs of temptation. Yet, we have to confess that we did not take our refuge solely in him, but were distracted from his goodness and instead attracted fatally to evil and its empty promises. Too little regret and far too late as well.

Up, up o my soul get on with the fight. Get up and off you go to triumph! In this world and age you’ll find no rest. If you don’t fight here, you’ll not bear the crown of glory there.

The devil stirs with treachery, the world joins in with its vainglory and our desires play their part to pull us on their side, o my soul! Watch out they’re out to get you and if you don’t resist bravely like a man, you’re half gone and have already lost.

Remember that you’re bound by your baptismal oath to stand at your Lord’s side. Remember that you’re called to fight like a man; remember that without a fight and eventual victory nobody ever came to triumph yet.

Whoever overcomes and crosses the track triumphantly, will eventually eat of the tree of life in paradise eternally. Whoever overcomes will not taste sorrow or death in eternity. Amen

(Johann Scheffler, 1624-1677. The translation of the hymn is rather literal, but not poetical. The preceding devotion is a translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Wednesday after the Sunday Invocavit (First Sunday in Lent) as found on Pg. 120 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu!   (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and puplished in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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