I have never celebrated Lent nor given much thought to it.
To be completely truthful, mostly all I know of Lent is from Facebook posts that talk about what the individual is going to give up for Lent.
Lent has never been part of my Christian walk, nor have I had any teaching on it.
I think of how Jesus came and took our sin and gave us His righteousness. God has given us the Way, the Truth and the Life and in Christ, we live and breathe and have our being. We are loved, wholly, passionately and without reserve by a God who gave His only Son for us and we are well pleasing to Him. God gave all, He gave the best ~ for you and for me.
…Well, no matter what I know or don’t know, I am not giving up anything for Lent…
Especially when I can come into His presence and give Him my heart.
As I gaze at the years behind me, I know I have experienced the strength that truly does rise as we wait upon the Lord. Of even greater importance is the amazing joy and freedom I have experienced after a time of repentance. The shame I wore for so many years kept me from a real heart to heart relationship with Jesus and when I finally heard the term ‘repentance’ my heart was broken and became completely HIS.
Though weeping endured throughout the many long nights, joy surely came in the morning! Beloved, Joy comes because God is faithful to see that we bear fruit in keeping with repentance. He loves our times of repentance for that is when He can begin to fill us with more of Himself.
This excerpt from Beckoned by the King is the reason why I am not giving UP anything for Lent, but rather continuing to give ALL.
…He showed me how I bowed to shame, guilt, and condemnation and with great love and tenderness sometimes he carried me to the mountaintop but each time we would tear down another altar of idolatry. Over time, I learned to stand securely knowing that my sin was gone forever into the sea of forgetfulness.
We think we are lost, but confession and repentance to a God who loves us cause us to see the way to victory and because we can see the victory by faith, we act in certain ways to attain it and make it ours.
We look at him, gaze upon his perfection and resplendent beauty and our tendency is to cringe in shamefulness over our sinful ways. In that exact instance of our feeling, his Voice rises above the voices we may have too long listened to and we hear him say to us from the Cross-, voicing the words with the passion of his love – as far as the east is from the west so far have I removed your transgressions from you.
His position on the Cross was the position of absolute forgiveness and the ultimate in freedom.
We must learn to wait upon the Lord and ask the King how we can serve him. We must learn the strength that comes to us from waiting on the Lord.
I have wondered though, how does our strength rise when we wait upon the Lord? What are we doing when we are “waiting upon him”?
We are going in to his intimate chambers and we are saying, “what can I get for you, my King?’ Yet our only desire is to gaze upon his radiant beauty because we have been awestruck and smitten by the incredible beauty he radiates.
Deep in our hearts we know, because he has already prepared us for the offering, we know that the giving of what he asks will be difficult but it will not be too much for us to bear. Those stirred up memories can make us feel not so very good, and YET as we are standing before the King he sees a woman – a man of great beauty and worth. He sees whom he has created, one who is dazzling because we are looking at him, reflecting his glory, light and Love.
Listen and hear what he says,
“Feeling defeated and in despair, you have come into my Presence choosing to give yourself to me. Do you know how radiantly lovely you are to me, do you know that you have inspired me to greatness and you bring me immense pleasure? I understand your emotions; I have compassion in your times of weakness.
I see now how you want to dance before me because joy has risen in your heart; you want to bow in awe before me.
I see that still you stand, still you wait, and still you have bid your soul to be. Listen! I am putting a new song in your heart.
The words are: “Bid me come to You, Lord Jesus, bid me come to You, my Lord, Bid me come to You, Lord Jesus, bid me come that I might serve”
I know your heart is questioning, “How can I serve this King, this Perfect Lover of my heart, this One who has everything because he created everything and all that he has created yields to his every Word? HOW CAN I SERVE THIS KING?”
My answer to you is that you have served me every time you have come desiring to meet my needs despite the circumstances around you. Your coming has brought me joy. You have asked, “What can I get for You, my King?” knowing that the giving of it will sometimes be very difficult for you.
I will never ask for more than you can give but I seek to see you enter into freedom, walk in the fullness of my joy. I will stir up memories within your soul that have kept you in a cage of fear and my love for you will break through those bars of iron and tear down every wall.
My desire is that my joy in you is full, how can that be when there are so many conflicting emotions within you? To serve me and wait upon me in order to meet my needs then I am waiting for you to bring your inner conflicts to me.
The reality of living and giving one’s life in service to me lies in the truth that the greatest service you can do me is to bring your self’s unruly emotions to me, lay them at my feet, thereby dying to yourself. No greater love is there than when one lays down their life for another.
Will you apprehend the depth of the service you do me as you allow the image and nature of the Son to be formed in you as you choose to yield to the creative power of my Word spoken to you?
Truly, whoever the Son sets free is free indeed.
“I want you to know that you have been delivered from the hand of your enemies so that you might serve me without fear, in holiness and righteousness before me all the days of your life.” Luke 1:74-75. (Author’s paraphrase)
Beloved, can you hear him? Do you think perhaps you would like to give All your heart instead of giving up something for Lent.
Perhaps add to your faith as it speaks in 2Peter 1:5-8 to your faith add virtue, to virtue, knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.