The third full week of Lent is coming to a close and I was wondering how it’s going? A common practice is the commitment to give something up or to set something aside for Lent in order to make more time for God. If you made this commitment I pray that you are experiencing a deeper sense of who God is and the power God has to transform. I know that God will build you and bless you through your time with Him! Remember, Jesus set aside the crown of heaven to wear the crown of thorns. He made this relationship possible!
What a powerful thought, concept, and truth! Maybe you wonder why God would do such a thing? That God would plan, ask or require Jesus to become flesh, to dwell with us, and to give himself up even to die upon the cross for us! Well, it is all born out of God’s deep love for humanity and that only God could satisfy the divine requirement for human justification. Jesus was the fulfillment of this Godly expression of love and the laying aside of heaven’s crown to wear ours – the crown of thorns proves it.
The church’s understanding of the Christ event is that we are invited into a new relationship with God through Jesus. Because he laid down his life for us and was resurrected by the power of God, we can die to this life whose natural end is separation from God. Jesus makes it possible for us to have life and life abundant; life eternal with God if we openly accept His gift of mercy and grace. Last Sunday at North Star we prayed this prayer together:
“Dear Lord, I would like to be one of your disciples. I would like to put aside the crown of condemnation so that I might inherit the crown of your righteousness. I accept the forgiveness and mercy you offer me. Wash me clean and make me anew. Help me to follow you as I commit myself to you. I pray this in the name of Jesus the Christ. AMEN.”
In that moment it had a dual application and I think it still does. For some it is a moment of reaffirmation of their faith. It is easy to get lost in the chaos around us and to put aside our relationship with God – His desires and dreams for us. This moment of reaffirmation has the power to realign us with God and His vision for our lives!
Or this prayer could be a moment where someone accepts God’s gift of forgiveness and grace for the very first time! If it is, I want to encourage you to contact a local pastor to talk with them about your faith commitment. This is just the first step in a life-long journey and I am confident that your local pastor will walk with you as you take the next steps.
Finally I realize that for some this may be very new and fresh so let me leave you with a few words of encouragement. Hang on to the fact that God never fails; that God is the one who has the power to save the day; and that salvation is here. Your life is now on a new trajectory; an ascension to life eternal with God. That path is going to twist and turn; it will go up and down, left and right; it will open up new opportunities as it closes others. But just remember-now you are not alone because God is with you.
Blessings for the journey!