Lent Reflections @ CEC 2021 2/25/21
“While I am asking God how I should observe an upcoming Lenten season, I may remember where I spiritually was during Lent the previous year and reflect on what has changed and what has stayed the same. I hear and read the familiar stories about Jesus as he approached the cross and am reminded that while my circumstances change, the truths of the gospel remain the same.” — Charlotte Donlon
Scripture Focus & Devotion: John 3:17-18a
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned...
Someone once said that you never see a person in a protest carrying a sign with an arrow pointing downward and with the words “I am the problem” painted on it.
(Tripp, Paul David. Journey to the Cross (p. 47). Crossway. Kindle Edition. )
When I read it, I laughed. Because it is so true. Human nature in me wants to look somewhere else, anywhere else as the source of any problems or issues. Earlier in his book, Paul Tripp talks about the incredible gift that was given to him at a summer camp. In fact, he calls it an unexpected and undeserved gift. That gift? The knowledge of his sin. But he was also given another gift: the knowledge of a ready, willing and capable Savior.
When the image of God in us became marred by sin. We all became people who needed rescuing. Each Lenten season is an opportunity for us to revisit this gift of both knowing our own sin, and knowing Jesus - "the lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world."
"The Lenten season is about the sin that was the reason for the suffering and sacrifice of the Savior. It is about taking time to reflect on why we all needed such a radical move of redemption, to confess the hold that sin still has on us, and to focus on opening our hands, in confession and submission, and letting go of sin once again. But as we do this, it is important to remember that the knowledge of sin is not a dark and nasty thing but a huge and wonderful blessing. If you are aware of your sin, you are aware of it only because you have been visited by amazing grace.
Be thankful that you have been chosen to bear the burden of the knowledge of sin, because that burden is what drove you and will continue to drive you to seek the help and rescue that only the Savior Jesus can give you. To see sin clearly is a sure sign of God’s grace. Be thankful."
Our society does not often want to talk about sin. In his latest book Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets, the first question that Andy Stanley says we need to ask is not just "Why am I doing this?" BUT "Why am I doing this REALLY?" A gut level honesty about our core motivation for why we want to do a particular thing. Left unchecked, my core motivation is the result of sin - my own desire to be "the boss of me."
But in Jesus, sin is no longer the boss of me. So in this season of introspection, of diving into the hard before I too quickly move on to the celebration, I can do so knowing that on the other side of the hard, there IS a celebration. There is joy. There is a "visiting of amazing grace."
I want to embrace both gifts - the knowledge of my sin, and the gift of a ready, willing and capable Savior.
You have given us the incredible gift of truth - the truth about ourselves and the truth about who You are! We are grateful!