First Week of Lent | Ryan Pino

Psalms 40, 54
Deuteronomy 10:12-22
Hebrews 4:11-16
John 3:22-36

The truth is, we’re all so very weak. We may act like we have it all together, but at the end of the day, nobody needs to remind us that we’re broken people. We know. There are some things in life that are givens: you know, things like vegetables are good for you and don’t talk in elevators. Well, another one of those givens is this: we’re all just messed up. Forlorn and frail, we desperately try to walk in obedience to the Lord, yet stumbling blocks abound. And frustratingly enough, the most abundant stumbling block of all is the self. Temptations entice from dawn until dusk, and more often than not, selfishness is the victor. Stumbling time and time again, we find ourselves feeling downcast, defeated and dirty, convinced that God could never love anyone so wretched.

Even the Lenten season—when viewed merely as a time to do more good deeds, to exercise self-discipline or to attempt to earn God’s acceptance through acts of penitence—can serve as a sobering reminder of our sinful disposition and weakness. The simple act of trying to give up something for Lent—whether it be chocolate, meat, smoking, Facebook or maybe even going to class (as if you needed an excuse)—creates the possibility of failure. And let’s be honest, failure is one of the few areas in which we all excel. Failure often leads to shame and self-condemnation, and in that dark pit—that place where our inferiorities and weaknesses loom so large—it’s easy to believe that God has nothing but judgment for us.

Nevertheless, as Christians, those very moments that remind us of our shortcomings must turn our focus once again upon God’s amazing grace, which we can claim confidently through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. For that reason, don’t simply let Lent be another painful reminder of your weakness as a human; let it be a time in which you reflect on the strength, grace and love that are yours in Christ.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16)

RYAN PINO
Sophomore, Asian Studies Major

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