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5th Mar

2015

Pastor’s Page – Lent 2015

We read in Matthew 16:24, ” Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” For many Lent means giving up something that we like for the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday. For myself it is a time to reflect about the events of the life of Christ and at the same time take a good look at my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Lent should be a time that we do more than give up something. It would be a good time to improve some area of our Christian life. Jesus never meant that we had to give up normal comforts and endure self-inflicted pain to overcome sin or gain favor with God. There is no special merit in giving up something for the sake of just giving it up.

Paul addresses this issue in Colossians 2:20-23. “If you die with Christ to the principles of this world, why, as though you still belong to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch! 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

Simply put, Paul is saying that self-inflicted punishment or pain does not really get to the heart of the sin problem in the lives of people. These are external works. What really needs to happen is for a change to take place on the inside. Outside things are something we wear that does not really affect the inner person. Jesus did not mean self- inflicted punishment when He spoke of denying self. He doesn’t want us to suffer but He does expect us to put Him first in everything. Nothing is to occupy such a place in our lives that it prevents us from giving our Lord and Savior the love, honor, obedience, and service He alone deserves.

Is Jesus Christ the top priority in your life? This needs to be considered during the Lenten Season. Luke 9:23 says essentially the same things as Matthew 16:24 but he adds the word daily. We read, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

To deny oneself means to obliterate self as the dominant principal of life and make God truly number one. This is what Christ meant by denying self. During this Lenten Season, let us do more than give up something. Let us take serious what it means to deny self and take up one’s cross and follow Jesus. Lent points the way towards Easter Sunday and the glorious event called the Resurrection. Let us prepare for this wonderful event by growing in our Christian walk with Jesus Christ.

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