Third Week of Lent | Kevin Trowbridge

Psalm 119:97-120
Jeremiah 8:18-9:6
Romans 5:1-11
John 8:12-20

Twelve years ago I was “dating” a young lady whom I had known since college. Our acquaintance had grown into a friendship, and our friendship had just been redefined as something “more than friendship.” As I considered what that “more” might look like, it became obvious I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. Consequently, I knew my life was about to change. I could no longer think about my own self-interests as I dreamed about the future and decided how to invest my resources.

As we allow ourselves to grow in a relationship with another person, sacrifices are inevitable. But the motivation for our sacrifices demands reflection. Sometimes we sacrifice because we want the relationship so badly. We give time, energy, affection and even finances in hopes that the relationship will flourish. More often than not, those are the relationships that are built on unrequited sacrifice, and they rarely last. On the flip side are those relationships characterized by mutual love and reciprocal sacrifice.

For nearly a month we’ve been observing Lent, a season characterized by purposeful fasting, penitence and prayer. Whether it’s a sacrifice of a self-indulgent pleasure or our time for more intentional prayer, meditation and Bible study, it’s important to remember that our Lenten sacrifices do not result in a relationship with God. Instead, our sacrifices result from the relationship that we have through Jesus Christ, our Savior.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege” (Romans 5:2a). There is absolutely nothing we can do to make us worthy of a relationship with God. In fact, the Bible is an amazing love story of God’s pursuit of a relationship with us—one that is possible only because of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross.

My pastor recently shared a poignant truth: Surrender always precedes salvation. The sacrifice of surrender—the simple belief that we can’t do it, but He’s already done it—is the only thing we must do for a relationship with God. And because of that relationship, we have the privilege to sacrifice and obey.

It’s been a joy to sacrifice because of the relationship I have with my best friend to whom I proposed on Good Friday 12 years ago. Even more, there is indescribable joy in the sacrifices that result from my 30-year relationship with the Lord.

KEVIN S. TROWBRIDGE
Instructor, Public Relations

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