I realize this is a little into Lent – well, over half way into the season. However, I have my reasons for putting it off so long as you will find out as we go along. So, I will just jump into this.
Lent is a time– when a smaller group each year, I am guessing– give up something to better concentrate on the coming suffering of their Savior. To be perfectly honest, I have never abstained from anything during this season. The only reason I have for not doing this is that I am rather weak-willed and would no doubt fail within a few days. As I write this I know there is a lesson here for me, yet I avoid this practice.
Lent is the perfect season to witness to others about the sacrifice that Jesus made by dying on the cross to pay for all of our sins. This has come up at various times when I mention to a coworker that I have church in the middle of the week. It peaks their interest. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is in you. 1 Peter 3:15 EHV
Lent is a time where I see the betrayer in myself. I read the Bible. I am warned about what sin is, my weaknesses and the consequences of allowing sin into my life. But like Judas, I am not always deterred.
I think back to Maundy Thursday and Jesus celebrating the Passover and then instituting the Lord’s Supper. Even though he knows of the betrayal that looms in the next few hours, Jesus gives both Judas and me a preview of what can happen when we give sin a chance to grow.
- Knowledge – To Judas One of you will betray me, the one who is dipping bread into the dish with me and to me his Word says Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires. Basically, look what is coming at you and see the sin and consequences found there.
- Choice – This knowledge erases the opportunity for either Judas or me to say “I didn’t know it would end up this way” or “I couldn’t stop myself from doing this”. Those sound like great excuses, but not once I am aware of the sin.
- Sole responsibility – If I continue into my sin, it is a clear choice on my part. As with Judas, sin is always hatched in my heart and eventually will end up separating me from God and hurting others. What more can a friend do than Jesus has done–he gave up his throne in heaven, suffered for sins that were all mine and not his, and died. My reaction is often much like that of Judas, I do what I want when I want. Not much of a thank you. Not my favorite part of Lent if there is one.
Lent is the real picture of why Jesus came to earth. Yes, it was his love for us. But his goal was not to bring the “peace on earth” that so many expect–or at least how they understand that phrase. The peace that Jesus brings is between me and my Heavenly Father. My sin puts me at war with Him. That is a war I had no way to end, until Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life and took on all punishment for all people. That is what Lent is about. Jesus’ love lived out through action.
I know this season is about that love, but I can also be overwhelmed by the guilt of my continuing sin. I know my sins are forgiven. Oh for the strength to live out my love for Jesus not just now, but for all my life.
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he would strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner self, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Then, being rooted and grounded in love, I pray that you would be able to comprehend, along with all the saints, how wide and long and high and deep his love is, and that you would be able to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled to all the fullness of God. Now to him, who is able, according to the power that is at work within us, to do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen
Thanks for spending a little time here. I hope you come back sometime. I will wait you. If you have a few minutes, I would invite you to watch this video. It shows why Jesus came for me and for you.