Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

By David Lineberger

A Time of Introspection

Read: Jeremiah 29:11

“Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.”

The first time I remember hearing about Lent I was amazed that there was a religious time to concentrate on belly button dust. Of course, I was 8 years old at the time. Later, I was curious to learn that this was not a celebration like Christmas or Easter, but something very personal and introspective, and that it was different for every person.

Historically, new Christians were baptized and confirmed at Easter. Leading up to that was a period of preparation centering around your relationship with God, how you were living your own life, and how you were sharing God’s love with those less fortunate. Doing these things gave you a renewed perspective of your faith and an appreciation of God’s love.

Today, we use the season of Lent to emphasize these same spiritual ideas. To focus on how important various things are in your life, imagine a blank piece of paper. Imagine there is a circle in the center of the page with your name on it. Now place  things or people that are most important to you nearest the circle in the center. Continue with other less important parts of your life and place them farther from the center, depending on their importance to you. Once this is complete, put God where He belongs in your life, being honest and not where He should be, but is in reality. This mental exercise should give you a picture of your life currently, and how important God is to you. Do you see anything that should change? Does God deserve better?

Now look at the paper and ask yourself how many of the items nearest you reflect selfishness or greed, or harm to yourself or others. Are there items that should move away from you in the center, or items near the edge of the paper that belong nearer the center?

And last, realize how many of your items focus on the needy or those who are desperate for help from those more fortunate. How close are they to the center of the page? How much are you sharing God’s blessings and love with others?

In doing these things, Lent can become a personal celebration of your faith in God and a renewal of what it means to be His disciple. Lent can also be a time of a renewed appreciation of His greatest gift to all of us. What could be better than making our lives all about sharing His love instead of all about ourselves?

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive our selfishness and greed, our tendency to exclude you from our lives, and our willingness to look the other way when needs of others cross our path. Help us to see You in others,  and help to show You to others! In the name of your precious Son I pray, Amen.

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