SO, How’s That First Week of LENT Goin’ For Ya?

Give up chocolate? Booze? Facebook, sugar, Pokémon or TV?

Maybe you gave up something too deep to tell anybody but God.

Does your sacrifice remind you of His? Or your own self-pity?

The IDEA, in the Spirit, was to join Him in His suffering so we can feel closer to Him in His victory when He rises again. Spend 40 days in the “desert’ of temptation like Jesus did before He began His mission.

A holy and beautiful thing.

Then….

BAM!… Reality. Flesh. Failure.

Nothing like failing to keep a genuine, heartfelt Lenten commitment to demonstrate, yet again, what hopeless, fleshy losers we are, huh? Why we so desperately need saving. Why we love Someone who says He will not only SAVE us, but FORGIVE us when we fail.

What I’ve learned from my Lenten journey so far is that I never would have made it this far without the Lord’s grace and mercy. And that I won’t make it another step without it now.

AND I see how HIS 40 days in the desert, tempted by the devil himself, was necessary. Praise GOD He went first, huh?!

The devil hasn’t changed. He tempted Jesus and lost. But he’s still after us. When we fail, we smell his presence. Especially those of us misfits with very wounded souls. He knows our weak spots and he targets them all the time.

Seems like the holier our GOALS, the harder he tries to shoot us down. The guy lounging by the pool or watching TV all day isn’t much risk, is he? Why bother? But anyone looking to give glory to God, build up His Kingdom? BAM!

I think of the monks of old, wearing scratchy hair shirts as a sign of repentance. Thomas Becket was wearing one when he was martyred, Charlemagne was buried in one.

But today we just don’t deny ourselves many creature comforts. Spend most of our time, in fact, seeking new ones. A new exotic food, or stylish clothes, rare wine. It simply doesn’t occur to us to WANT to suffer. Mainly just to avoid it at all costs.

Then comes Lent. And we want to try. Some of us strong and pure enough to do it and succeed “as unto Him.” Some of us shot down by our broken, wounded flesh. Again.

He knows our struggle. Carries us anyway. Loves us anyway. Not because we are so loveable, but because He IS love. (1 John 4:8).

Thank You, Lord. Thank You for carrying us when we fail. For loving us when we grinch and groan. For forgiving us when we stubbornly refuse to do Your plain and obvious will instead of our little plans. Thank you. You knew how we would be and loved us anyway. Whew.
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Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

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