In the beginning, the disciples tended to focus more on the call of denying themselves than on the goal that Jesus set before them. That denial of self really isn’t much of a motivator. During Lent we can often be like the disciples and focus more on what we might be denying ourselves and lose focus on the goal of Lent, which should be making more room for Jesus in our lives and not to make our lives more challenging. If we keep our eyes on the goal we will have a more hopeful and inspiring perspective on things.
For the disciples, the goal that Jesus set forth for them was the hope of the resurrection. It was the promise that those who followed Jesus would be raised to new life and not just in some far off heaven but right, right now. It was the promise of freedom from the burdens of guilt and sin. It was the promise of a huge deepening experience of God’s love for His children and the power God can have in everyones lives. It was the promise that everyone could belong to a community of believers who treat one another with the love and mercy of God.
All of those same promises hold true for all of us today. They apply to us just as much as they did for Jesus’ disciples. Just like with Peter, John, James and all the rest, He is inviting each and every one of us to follow Him on the same road that the first disciples walked, this Lent and every day of our lives. Jesus is asking to deny ourselves and take up our crosses not because He wants to make our lives miserable or unbearable, but because He wants to set us free from the burdens of our sin.
During this season of Lent, consider what you are really focusing on. Is it the sacrifices that you have decided to make or is it the destination you hope to reach this coming Easter? Take a closer look at your Lenten resolutions and ask yourself honestly where they are really leading you. If the goal doesn’t seem all that clear to you, then consider adjusting them. Just let Christ set you free this Lent so you can truly rejoice with Him this Easter.
Thank You Lord for the promise of the resurrection!
Lord, as we walk with You on our Lenten journey, let us not lose sight of where we are going.
Help us Lord to see that it is not all about what we are giving up or what extra things we are doing during Lent.
Instead, help us to truly understand that it is the goal that is important. The goal You set before all of us – Freedom and Salvation.