Last night at the Ash Wednesday service, we apologized to God and each other for our failures as a church and as people. With every wrong of the church that was apologized for, I remembered a moment or season at a church in my past that went along those lines. It really was a cleansing moment. My tendency is always to fixate on things in my past that have been hurtful and ignore the more personal issues that I should be focusing on. Luckily, God wasn't having that last night. He got in my heart and showed me the things that I'm doing wrong right now, the things that really no one else sees but Him but that are so against the woman that I'm becoming and that I project in general. How humbling!! When I received communion, I let the magnitude of that (Christ's body broken for me and Christ's blood freely given for me), really sink in before I went and received my ashes. Ashes are a symbol of grief, of remorse for our sins and failures. I've had ashes imparted before, but I've never let their meaning really go past the superficial aspect of showing everyone I cross paths with that I am a believer. The external image is where the problem was when I was younger. I was so concerned with my appearance as a Christian that I didn't grow my roots. I was a seed in rocky soil. Now I'm becoming a seed in rich soil that produces 30 and 60 and even 100 times the original crop (Mark 4:1-20). I am being consumed from the INSIDE OUT by the Spirit.
Traditionally for Lent you're supposed to give something up as a means of gaining some spiritual insight and growth. I don't see how giving up chocolate or french fries gets you any closer to God, though. This year, I've decided to do Lent a little bit differently. I'm giving up making excuses.
Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily, as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-34
I'm going to do something every day around the house, a little chore or task that I don't particularly want to do but needs to be done and makes life a little more pleasant for the other people who live here. Its things I would do in my own home (or wouldn't need to do because there are messes that I just don't make or allow to be made in my own home, but that's a different story...) Its getting into the habit of having a home-servant attitude, because it's things done for the Lord, and it's part of our purpose. So I'm making a concerted effort to do it every day (excluding the days I'm in Dallas for Bunny's wedding, of course) so that by Easter, it will just be a way of life. No more being too tired, too headachey, too upset stomachy. Jesus wasn't too tired to die for me, so I'm not too tired to vacuum the living room.
Your word I have laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You... I will meditate on Your precepts and have respect to Your ways [the paths of life marked out by Your law]. I will delight myself in your statutes; I will not forget Your word. Psalm 119:11, 14-15
I have failed miserably thus far at my Bible reading New Year's "Resolution". That's gotta change. The best way to get closer to God is to read the word! Every word of the Bible is GOD BREATHED (II Timothy 3:16) and that in and of itself makes it completely worth my time to read it and fill my heart with scripture. Jesus wasn't too distracted to die for me, so I'm not too distracted to read His word.
What are you changing in your life for Lent?