Wednesday, February 29 • Leap Year 2012
We are now one week into the season of Lent. As a baptist Christian from the southwest, Lent took a while to catch on in my life, but it has in the last 10 years. This year, however, Lent has taken a twist for me. I am taking Matthew 16:24-25 as my cornerstone verses for this year's Lenten journey:
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
This seems like an appropriate verse for Lent, traditionally a time of self-denial in preparation for the reflection and trial of Holy Week. But as I have reflected upon it, I realize that self-denial is not something one can undertake out of a sense of obedience or even out of fear, necessarily. So what is it that drives our denial of self?
I believe Jesus gives us the clue in verse 25: "for My sake"…
I believe that "for My sake" means love. It is our love for God that drives our Lenten denial. It is God's desire for us in Jesus, overflowing into our lives through his own self denial on the cross that impels us, by His love and consequently our own, to deny our renegade self, take up the cross and follow Him.
Love is the heart of Lent.