Me, Myself, & I: Week 6 - Monday Morning Devotions

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In this season of resolutions and self-help, where we focus so heavily on ourselves, let’s delve into idolatry - putting something (or someone) else in the place of God.

These seven weeks are brought to you by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who serves the Native community of Winnebago, Nebraska.

Read week 1 here


Greetings to you in the Name of our Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

  I begin today with this quote from Lockwood: “What a burden to have to make myself wise with my puny brain and limited vision!”

[Martin] Luther teaches that idolatry begins when we try to set up ourselves as teachers above God and his Word. Luther agrees with Augustine that pride is "the mother of all heresies [false teachings about God]. This is because the proud refuse to be taught by God.

An elder of the Winnebago tribe taught me these words as the way his people began their prayers prior to the Christian coming to them: "Aho, Mauna, waza hanck guzi ra!" In English, these words mean: Aho, Earth Maker, teacher of all things.

And yet so many today refuse to be taught by God.                    

Luther talks about human reason in three different ways that need to be carefully distinguished: 1) natural reason, ruling within its proper domain (the Earthly kingdom); 2) arrogant reason, trespassing upon the domain of faith (the Heavenly Kingdom); 3) regenerate reason, serving humbly in the household of faith, but always subject to the Word of God. Within the first context - [natural] reason is an excellent gift of God; within the second - [arrogant reason], it is Frau Hulda, the Devil's Whore; within the third - regenerate reason], it is the handmaiden of faith. [183]

“When Luther calls reason ‘the devil's whore,’ he is not merely using a colorful insult. Instead, he is making a theological point by picking up on the Old Testament contention that idolatry is spiritual adultery. [185]… When [the human mind] refuses to listen to [Christ and His Word], it does not think for itself, but rather prostitutes itself to a new master. It aligns itself with God's enemy, and falls captive to one deception of the devil or another. [186] … Luther's goal in denouncing the idol of autonomous human reason was to redirect people to God's Word, so that they could be taught by God” [206] and find heavenly wisdom and the peace of knowing God as He has revealed Himself.

 I end where I began: “What a burden to have to make myself wise with my puny brain and limited vision!” But how liberating to receive heavenly wisdom through the Word.

I close with the words from the tenth chapter of Paul's second letter to the Corinthians: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV84)