Continuing our journey through Lent to the Cross with Jesus, we move from the focus upon acknowledging our sin last week to turning from sin – denying its power – this week.
It is one thing to face our sins – to name them for what they are – but that is merely one step in our journey toward maturity in Christ. The next step is to renounce – or turn away from – the sin in our lives. Each of us comes to a crossroads in facing sin. Our decision must be to change directions in order to follow Jesus. As Peter proclaimed in one of his earliest message in the book of Acts:
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. (Acts 3:18)
Here is a question for you to consider: what sin in your life can you identify yet have not fully turned away from? What would it look like even now to turn from that sin, to acknowledge it before God and ask Him for freedom and life?
Even now, each of us could pause in whatever we are doing and turn to Him. He is not far off, but closer than we realize.
As we continue the ||40days|| journey through Lent, this week we will focus on the theme: ‘turn’.
Last week, we looked at acknowledging things in our lives: sin, fears, brokenness, and longings. Radical honesty to acknowledge things in our lives is the first step of the journey, but it does not stop there.
The next step is to turn from those things that we acknowledge in some way. To turn means to see something, and willfully move in a different direction. In our ||40days|| journey, we are talking about turning from sin and other things so that we might turn back to God. As we read in the book of Lamentations:
Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD. (Lamentations 3:40)
Here at the beginning of the week, ask God to speak to you and strengthen you to turn fully to Him in your everyday life.
If you want a seed to grow, the first step is to plant it. You must open the soil, place the seed deep within, and bury it with dirt. With the right elements around the seed it will be nourished into fruitful growth.
The same thing is true of sin in our lives. If you want it to grow, the first step is to plant it deep within the soil of your soul. With the right elements around it, that sin will be nourished into fruitful growth.
The only problem is that most of us really do not want to have sin bearing fruit in our lives. Even those whoRead More »
Today we begin a journey. A forty day journey to the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
It is a journey that mirrors the forty days when rain fell on the earth to purge it from sin and injustice, while Noah and his family were saved in the ark (Genesis 7:12).
It is a journey that recalls us to the forty years when the people of Israel wandered in the desert because of their disobedience and distrust of God (Deuteronomy 29:5).
It is a journey that returns us to the forty days when Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tested and tried by the evil one in preparation for His ministry (Mark 1:13).
In this ||40days|| journey, we are preparing ourselves for the joys of Easter by having a deeper experience of the Cross. Like Noah, it is a time of rescue from sin. Like Israel, it is a time of purification from wrongs. Like Jesus, it is a time to come back to the word of God and resist the evil one.
Traditionally, this journey is called Lent, and begins today on Ash Wednesday. Traditional Lenten disciplines are fasting, prayer, and giving. Thus, we can see the movement from abstaining from something (fasting), turning to God (prayer), and putting another discipline in its place (giving). That being said, there are all sorts of ways that we can enter into this journey to the Cross of Christ.
Will you take the ||40days|| journey?
Have mercy on me, O God; according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1)
Search through my soul, O God.
Reveal my hidden sin.
Cut through my self-deception,
And cleanse me from within.
Apart from You our souls are lost.
We’re blind to our wrong ways.
We trick ourselves to walk a path that leads
to our disgrace.
So lead me on the path of life,
And purify my soul.
I kneel before You;
I give myself to You.
[This is part of a series of prayer posts in 2012 that began here.]