The Apostle encourages the Christians to live chaste and pure lives. This does not only relate to the 6th commandment, but goes further than that. Even the fifth and seventh commandments are directed against sinful desires, which war against our souls. Anger, revenge, theft, corruption and many other sinful desires war against our souls. They destroy the joy and gladness in our hearts. They work like frost in a spring night – destroying the blossoming fruits of the season in no time.
The word “war against your soul” can be understood in more than one way, but all will agree that the happiness of our souls and the associated holy lives are severely damaged by these sinful desires. How is the pilgrim to make his way home steadily if these things preoccupy him and keep him from going about his real business. Where is the joy and courage to come from to reach out to heaven if these things are pulling him back and holding him down? That is why we should concentrate our energy, strength and capacities to abstain from sinful desires, to rid ourselves of sinful ways and to put off all that holds us back and makes us sluggish in our Christian pilgrimage.
O holy God, who will be perceived only by those with clean hearts, grant us your Holy Spirit, that he cleanse our hearts from all sin and sanctify us through and through. Work in us both the will to do and the doing of good works. Strengthen, empower, confirm and capacitate us that we will be found pure and without blame on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Whoever strives to accommodate himself to this world, will be put to shame. The sinful world does not hold its promises. It is not dependable.
Whoever depends on God and the world, will limp on both sides. His heart will remain divided and won’t find peace. It’ll have trouble and pain – no end.
On God alone – that’s how it should be – he is the true sanctuary. Who trusts in God, builds on him alone, is blessed here and saved eternally. (Julius Sturm, 1816-1896)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Tuesday after the third Sunday after Easter: Jubilate. It is found on Pg. 182 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.