Today is Ash Wednesday; the beginning of Lent. It is a wonderful time for a Christian, as it reminds us of the greatest love story ever told. This is a love story that has passed down from generation to generation and a part of who each of us is. This is the greatest love story of mankind, of the rise and fall of human nature and how our shortcoming were totally vanquished through love.
Yes, this love story is about a man named Jesus. For the time He was on earth, though he was God, he chose to be man. He went through every possible suffering. If you think he did not suffer medically like you and I do, and not get medical help when we need it, think again. His festering, open wounds tell of his story. If you think he did not need money and could work miracles as and when it pleased Him, think again! We are given that same power to work miracles. Mark 16: 17, 18 reminds us of this. "They will force demons out in my name. They will speak in languages they have never learned. They will drink poison and not be harmed. They will hold snakes and not be bitten. When they touch the sick, they will be healed."
And here we are left wondering how all this is possible.
Here's one reminder of how we can live in total freedom through Christ: Repentance.
The first chapter of Isaiah gives us a detailed account of why the Lord refuses to listen to us or answer our prayers. In verse 3 the Lord laments that the ox knows its master, but we do not know Him, and because of this we go about our own separate ways. We turn to sinful actions and anger the Lord. Some of the areas of our lives that probably need reflection as seen from Isaiah – Chapter 1 are:
- Do I revolt against the Lord? (Verse-5)
- Does my life look like an open festering wound of the diseases of my sins? (Verse-6)
- Does my life seem empty? Does every area of my life seem shattered and destroyed? Does it seem that everything I do does not bear fruit, but strangers enjoy the rewards of my toil? (Verse-7)
- Am I a stranger in my home, or does my home lack the presence of God and seem so desolate that nothing lives; nothing thrives in it, except for all that is negative? (Verse-8)
- Does my life style reflect the life style of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah? Are my moral values based on God’s values or do I follow the calling of the flesh? (Verse-9)
- Do I pay heed to the Word of God. Do I listen attentively and with an open heart? (Verse-10)
- Is the Lord pleased with my life and with the sacrifices I make and offer up to Him? Do I carry the guilt of my sin upon me that makes the Lord displeased with me? (Verse-11)
- Do I enter the presence of the Lord in an unworthy manner? Do I displease the Lord with my unrepentant presence? (Verse-12, 13)
- Have I reflected upon my life and thought about my mistakes? Is my life clean off the blood of sin and washed in the blood of the Lamb? (Verse-15)
- Have I rejected sin and have tried to live my life in a manner that pleases God? Have I stopped living my life of sin? (Verse-16)
- Am I kind and just in my dealings with others? Do I make other people’s lives difficult knowingly and willingly? Do I support or stand up for the widows and the fatherless? (Verse-17)
The beauty about such a reflection, especially during the season of Lent reminds us that when we repent, the Lord will wipe our slates clean. He will be pleased. And the promise for taking delight in the Lord is that He shall give us all that our heart desires (Psalm 37:4); in other words, repentance leads to prayers being answered.
Today is a reminder that we can be part of this great love story; when the Saviour and the Saved work the same miracles, and live a life of freedom in God's love.
Praise God for the gift of repentance, when I can walk a new in His grace and be the real person I was created to be.
Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right Spirit within me.