by Rev. Margaret Rountree, Associate Pastor
This week is the fifth and final full week of Lent. It’s been 34 days since ashes were imposed on our foreheads to remind us of our sin, brokenness, and utter humanity before an all-mighty and perfect God. At the start of the Lenten season, we chose to make certain devotions to God that would help us to focus less on ourselves and more on God. For some of us, we decided to perhaps sacrifice or give up something for forty days. Maybe you decided to give up TV or sweets or coffee or being negative, etc. I remember growing up that the senior pastor of the church I grew up in gave up driving his car! He took public transportation for the entire season of Lent! For others of us, maybe you decided to “take on” something during this season that would draw you closer to God and enhance your walk with Him. Perhaps you decided to start your day with a devotional or spend more time in Scripture or intentionally practice an act of kindness every day during Lent. Furthermore, there may be even some of us who decided to sacrifice something and take on something this Lent. Whatever you decided to do, how have you done? Take a moment to look back on these past 34 days and assess yourself. If you’re anything like me, then you have probably found yourself struggling at times during this Lenten season, which then lead to breaking your Lenten commitment. If you have broken your Lenten promise, don’t worry. We are supposed to fail in Lent.
After being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the Judean desert. He then fasted forty days and forty nights, which of course left Him in a state of extreme hunger. Then, Scripture tells us that He was tempted by the devil. Jesus refused each temptation presented to Him. He refused to turn stones into bread, He refused to throw Himself off the top of the Temple, and He refused to worship Satan. Jesus overcame.
Lent reveals to us that we are weak. It reminds us how fragile we are and how accustomed to comforts we are. By breaking our resolutions, we prove this. Thus, we go to Jesus as the One who does have the power and strength to save us and forgive us infinitely.
Through Lent, I grow in greater appreciation for what Jesus has done for me and what He continues to do in my life to enlighten, strengthen, and free me from the burden and captivity of sin. So, if you have failed some during this Lenten season, do not fear, because you have actually achieved Lent’s purpose: realizing that you are weak and need God all the more!
Read 2 Corinthians 12: 9-11: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Meditation: Have you had a hard time with “being perfect” to your Lenten commitment this Lent so far? What keeps you from turning to God for help? Give yourself the grace to start over and turn towards God’s strength, rather than relying on your own.