Friday, March 22, 2013

Faith-Filled Friday.... Lessons Learned in Lent

As Holy Week fast approaches, I wanted to reflect on lessons the season of Lent teaches me.  For the past few years, I have given up something for Lent.  It is not always the same thing; but, it is always something that is hard for me to give up.  This has been a way for me to be more aware of Christ's sacrifice for me.  I know what it means to be saved by Jesus and I want to show Him, in some small way, how much His grace means to me.  What I didn't realize was that in the giving up I would gain space to see things more clearly.  It doesn't matter what I give up, rather, it is the act of giving up and setting aside that has opened up a place in my life for me to gain a more eternal perpective.

Here is what I have learned through the season of Lent each year...

There are many times when I crowd Jesus out of my life.  I want Him to be first; that is my intention and desire.  But, I don't always put Him first.  I become distracted by the minutia and busyness of life and at times put Christ aside. 

There are many times when I don't ask Jesus for His provision; instead I fall back on my self-reliance.  In my humanness, I forget who my Provider is.  I forget whose will needs to have control of my life.

I don't see the whole picture clearly.  The Lord is sovereign and omnipotent and I am not. How many times have I wanted something desperately only to find out it wasn't what was best for me?  Jesus knows what is better for me than I do.

I need to be pruned regularly.   There are seasons when I feel like things are being stripped away while I am stretched and challenged.  I feel out of sorts and uncomfortable when I am being pruned.  Old ways and habits that are so familiar need to be clipped and discarded for new growth to happen.  Eventually that growth turns into something much more beautiful than those dead branches ever could.

I am a work in progress and always will be until I am home with Jesus.  This side of Heaven, I will fall and He will pick me back up every time... molding and making me along the way. 

I am loved by a Saviour who is relentless in pursuing me.   Jesus never gives up on me and loves me just as I am - sinful, broken, and unworthy.  No matter how many times I fail, no matter what I do, and no matter how far I wander, His love is pure and unconditional there for the taking. 

Whatever I give up for Lent is nothing compared to what Jesus has sacrificed for me.  What I give up is insignificant when I see that Christ suffered unthinkable pain and gave up His very life for me.

And, this what I have want to keep impressed upon my heart...

For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 
 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
 and all these things will be given to you as well.
 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
 Each day has enough trouble of its own.
 Matthew 6:32-34

Praying you have many blessings and much joy!

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