Lent begins this week. Lent is a time of contemplation as we consider the sacrifice of Christ as He died for us.
Lent is about self denial, self control, repentance and considering where we are and where we should be.
I want everyone to know Jesus is the most important thing in my life.
I have to follow Him.
Even if it's through the valley of the shadow of death. Because without death there can't be resurrection.
And resurrection is life.
Life for me. Life for you.
For me following Jesus is unquestionable. It's an inner voice, a connection I can't deny. If I try to ignore for a day or two the voice of wisdom and try my own way, I am miserable.
I am willing to die for you. And that means die to self. Which hurts more than bodily death. My will and my desires are strong. They may be noble and good, but if they do not line up with your word and will, they are useless.
You must be all. I must be nothing.
I can hope that if I give up my wish, by giving it up I will get it back again. But that wouldn't be truly giving up, would it? I have to expect to never see it again. To be completely satisfied without.
But what is that compared to the cross? Pain and suffering so I can have my own way?
I can say no and ignore what I know You would want.
But the look in Your eyes. The glimpse of nail scar makes me run to you and say yes.
Yes to self denial. Yes to pain from my own personal cross. Yes to following you.
Whatever the cost.
So prepare my heart to say no to myself. And yes to you.
I am still willing to die in order to follow Jesus. It is easy to sit in the safe warm house, free from worry or pain and say that I would die for my faith. Yet I want to believe that I would be able to do that. And isn't dying to self dying in order to follow Jesus? Yet dying to self is the hardest of all.
All I can think of is how selfish I am.
Dad says this every Sunday and I think it sums up what I've been mulling over today.
It's not about you. It's about what God wants to do in and through you.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.