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Today is Valentine’s Day. But more so, it is the start of the Lenten season. I wonder how often these two days merge together.

To “give something up for Lent”, as explained by, “is to abandon a pleasurable habit as an act of devotion and self-discipline.” It is a 40 day span in which we abstain as we remember Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness. We think about our own shortcomings, also known as sin, and repent.

The things we give up are little, most times being a dessert, coffee, diet soda, social media, or a glass of wine at night. They are truly on the easier side to abstain from, often with a benefit to us other than sacrifice. We give something up knowing it will even be beneficial to our health.

Yet it is not a health for our body we should seek but the health of our souls. The question truly becomes, “Are we truly making a sacrifice?”

We give up the easy stuff of life and hold back on the harder, deeper, and significant sacrifice of the heart. It is as our hearts are lay open and bare that He may indeed then bring blessing.

God desires for us to go beyond the external demonstration and get on with the business of what lies hidden and unknown to everyone. He is after a change in our priorities and our attitudes towards others.

Most of the messes in my life were by my own doing. Repentance was called for and necessary. God desires that we feel the weight of our sin and sincerely repent, not with a casualness but with a fervency and sincerity. John Calvin once commented that “moderate repentance will not do.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:6-7, NASB)

It is by the path of repentance and forgiveness that we are completely and forever accepted by God.

Isaiah reminds us of four actions we are to take: “seek the Lord”; “call upon Him”; “forsake our ways”; and “return to the Lord.”

Lent is a 40 day season, a journey if you will, of reflection and introspection. We take the time to examine our lives, and letting the Lord search out our hearts, to seek where we have compromised. Not by our standards but of His. We take not of where the ideas and opinions of the world have taken up residency causing us to forsake His ways.

We leave no room for “moderate repentance” but sincerely and wholeheartedly humble ourselves before God.

Only as we forsake our own ways and return to Him will our lives be productive.

It is in losing our life and our ambitions,
to the very One who has given His life for us to have life,
that we gain even more.

In her post “Stress to Joy – A Busy Woman’s Guide“, Lynn Simpson asks this powerful question: “What if God wants your heart more than your work?” Let her words challenge you to enjoy your day and experiencing joy.



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Image by gracethroughfaith from Pixabay