“For while we were still weak at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:6-8 (ESV)
As Lent begins on March 6, I find myself motivated to be focused on the cross and Jesus’ resurrection. Yet most of the time I find myself in the middle of Lent, or even better on Good Friday, regretting and feeling guilty that I haven’t spent much time examining my heart and focusing on Jesus and what He did at the cross. I begin to focus on all my failures and feel a sense of hopelessness. I had every intention to be more deliberate, but I allowed other things to distract me. Lots of these things are daily routines. Nonetheless, they are things that often come first in my life, allowing the daily Word to be crowded out. If you’re like me, you tend to beat yourself up over this; focusing more about what you haven’t done rather than what Jesus has done! We actually begin believing that God loves us based off of what we do, not on what He has done. Surely this isn’t what lent is all about, and it sure isn’t the Gospel. The Lord doesn’t leave us hopeless but quite the opposite.
Scripture speaks to this. The past couple months I have had the pleasure of studying 2 Peter and Judges in Women’s Bible Study. 2 Peter reminds us that the Lord has given us all we need in Him to live out our Christian lives. We lack nothing when we belong to Him (2 Peter 1:3). Similar to Old Testament judges, Peter calls us to remember what God has done – not only in the desert, but at the cross. The Book of Judges shows us that we are stubborn people, having tendencies to forget God’s deliverance from slavery and His covenantal promises. All too often we come out of a season of hardship into great blessing and slowly forget what God has done. We boast in our financial success, athleticism, etc.; forgetting that we are weak and our strength, success, talents, and gifts are from Him.
During this time of Lent, let’s not forget who we were before Jesus saved us from ourselves. “We were dead in our sin, yet God sent his son to be sin for us, so that we wouldn’t bear the wrath. ” (Eph 2:5, 2 Cor 5:21). From what wrath did He save us? Eternal separation from God. Sit with this for a minute. Eternal means lasting or existing forever. Could you imagine yourself being separated from God forever? Many of us are and that includes our family, children, spouses, friends and neighbors who don’t know Jesus. Let’s not find ourselves this season focusing on what we failed to do. Instead let’s focus on what God is inviting you to do right now – to be sharing the good news of the Gospel! Draw near to him, as his mercy are “new every morning, great is [his] faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23).
During the 40 days of Lent (Mar 6 – Apr 21), would you set aside this time to examine your heart? Use this time to be reading Scripture, to pray, and to seek the exposure of the treasures (ie idols) of our hearts. It will not be easy or desirable as it requires shifting our priorities, schedules, and leisure time. However, in unveiling our sin, we will be replacing it with a lasting joy found in worshipping our Lord and Savior. As Scripture tells us, He is consistently faithful to those who humble themselves and call upon his name. (2 Chron 7:14)
To assist your spiritual preparation for Easter, a daily devotional has been prepared for you by GRC church leaders and members. Starting next Wednesday, it will be emailed* to you every morning. They are not written by theologians or Bible scholars, but by your fellow sinners at GRC who make up the body of Christ. Meditate on them and use them as a tool to draw you nearer to God as we wait patiently, trusting that “the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).
Kerry Reekie has been a member of GRC since 2008 and is currently a Sunday School teacher.