By Brooke Holt
“Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” The Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, Book of Common Prayer
If I desire anything in life, it is order. I love to maintain order in my closet, the spice rack, the dishes, my schedule, etc. For me, life feels predictable and safe when I can create a sense of order. Yet, I have never considered asking the Lord to bring my unruly will and sinful affections into order. I have asked for forgiveness, sanctification, and cleansing but never order. This Collect leads me to pray in a new fashion. What about you?
When you see sin in your life, what is your response? Do you make excuses? Do you minimize the sin? Or do you come to the Lord humbly asking him to transform your desires and to inform your actions? Why would you do this in a world that promotes acceptance of anything and everything? Continue reading this prayer: “that your heart may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found”.
The enemy of your soul seeks to convince you that true joy is found in disobedience to the Lord. He tells you to break the rules, stretch the boundaries, and be your authentic self. Meanwhile, the creator and lover of your soul seeks to lead you into his abundant life where you can experience true joy. That joy is not found outside of the Lord’s commands but right in the center of his will.
When you align yourself to the Lord and ask him to order your life – your thoughts, your words, and your actions – you live in freedom and wholeness. You find your authentic self in him: “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for” (Ephesians 1:11, The Message). Do you want to find your authentic self and to live as that authentic self? That happens as you allow the Lord to transform your desires and practices. The more you conform to his pattern for your life, the more fully you will live.
Maybe today is the day to allow God to create some order in your life. Join the prayer of The Collect and allow him to do his work in you. It is the way to true joy. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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