Psalm 99:1a, 4 - The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble! ... The King in His might loves justice. You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.
Consider for a moment, the infamous Greek warrior Achilles. In Greek mythology, it was prophesied that Achilles would die young. In order to protect her baby, Thetis, the mother of Achilles, brought her child to the river Styx and dipped him into its magical powers of invulnerability while holding only the baby's heel. Thus, Achilles grew up to be a great man of war with only one weakness, his heel, which the magical waters of the Styx did not touch. Yes, you guessed it, in Achilles last battle, his heel was struck by a poison arrow and he died, hence the origin of the phrase, "Achilles' heel," as a reference to any vulnerable spot in any system of armor.
What is America's "Achilles heel"? In a word, liberty. Who does not want liberty and more of it? But liberty is often wrongly defined by a multitude of cacophonous voices who shout, "Liberty is the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want, with whomever you want, at any time. No boundaries! No borders!" Is this the essence of the American dream? Such liberty is nothing new. Peter declared long ago that false teachers would arise in the church who promised "freedom" but were themselves "slaves of corruption, for whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved" (2 Peter 2:19b). Now if this condition can arise in the church, how much more can such corruption arise in any system of government?
Liberty works differently in God's kingdom. Whoever is yoked to Christ Jesus as His disciple is free from the destructive power of sin, free from eternal death, free from the enslaving curse of sin and free to follow the Lord's will in all things for the rest of his or her earthly life. Liberty in God's kingdom is not a playground of licentiousness for the flesh; rather, it is freedom to pursue God's righteousness. The Lord reigns in righteousness!
True freedom for the Christian in this life is only a beginning. Every Christian has many weak spots. These are areas of corruption from our former way of life that refuse to be tamed and subjugated—stains upon Christ's garment of righteousness given to us (see Jude 23). The weak spots are unrepented sin. What particular sin do you stubbornly refuse to turn away from? Here the real battle begins and ends for the Christian. You know your own heart. I know mine. Enslavement to any sin is conquered at the moment of temptation only when we consciously claim our victory over sin in Christ through the waters of Baptism, day by day, hour by hour, even minute by minute. True faith in Christ is always a struggle. It's both a battle to be waged and a resting in the promises of God that have already overcome all our weak spots, our Achilles' heels, if we would only believe.
The grace of God is greater than my thorn in the flesh, my daily weakness. For when I am weak, then, looking to Christ alone in that moment of weakness, I am strong! (See 2 Corinthians 12:10.)
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, teach me to trust You every day, believing that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Mark Schreiber.
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