Second Week of Lent | Daniel Warner

Psalm 27
Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Philippians 3:17-4:1
Luke 13:31-35 or Luke 9:28-36, (37-43a)

During the Lenten season I usually end up thinking about self-denial. I may be thinking about giving up sweets, or deleting my Facebook, or committing to wake up earlier to read my Bible, but I am definitely thinking about giving something up. Sometimes I find myself participating in the “holy” act of self-denial simply for the sake of self-denial, and not because I truly believe Jesus is better than whatever I am giving up. I get caught up in the Christian activities and end up being a Christian just because it’s the subculture I’m a part of instead of being a Christian because I truly love Jesus Christ. So, I just want to offer this simple reminder to myself and others: Lenten rituals like 40 days of self-denial mean nothing if it is not from the overflow of a heart filled by the love of Christ.

I don’t want to delete my Facebook because I believe that I’ll be more holy and Jesus will love me more if I do. I want to have the mindset where I delete my Facebook because I know it simply distracts me from what is true. I want to be in a place where I don’t need to find meaning through being well liked, or where I quantify my self-worth based on how many likes I can get on my most recent attempt to be clever in a status update. I want to know that my identity is found in a much deeper reality, the reality of Christ that says, “No, you’re not good enough even in all your attempts at being righteous, but remember I didn’t choose you because you were good enough; I chose you simply because I love you.”

In Philippians 3:20, Paul reminds us, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” As we deny ourselves things this Lenten season, let’s do it because we believe Jesus is transforming us to be more like Him, not because we feel like we should or because we are worried Jesus doesn’t like us anymore. And as we continue to seek Jesus, may He give us new hearts that want Him more than the shallow satisfaction of empty self-denial.

DANIEL WARNER
Senior, Religion & the Arts

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