She gave up mirrors- hard to do, but genius, so freeing.
She gave for Lent- a reflection of He who gave all.
So, this firstborn, try-hard, be-good girl started thinking, “What should I give up or give away for Lent this year?”
Then, a crazy idea came. “What if I don’t give up anything? And what if that makes all the difference?”
You see, I am a pleaser and a do-er. I often error on the side of legalism and try to earn God’s favor with good behavior. I know the truth, but, sometimes that truth doesn’t travel down the long road to my heart. I know it, but don’t really show it with my attitudes and actions.
Now listen, there is nothing wrong with giving up something for Lent, it can be a beautiful picture and reminder of what Christ did for us. BUT, this year, this woman, needed to hear this season’s message from a different angle; a fresh view.
Maybe it was a bit of laziness. Maybe it was “Oh shoot, Lent snuck up on me and I already feel behind.” Or maybe, just maybe, He really whispered this message…the one that could set my heart free. “What if you don’t give up anything, because I already gave up everything, so you don’t have to.”
Oh sure, I know the theology- we give up our old self, our sinful nature, and put on the new self (see Colossians 3). But, what I felt like He was trying to tell me, is something similar to what he told her, that He loves her just as she is. That He loves me, whether or not I do this or don’t do that, He has already accepted me in Christ.
I am approved. I belong. I am enough.
Because Jesus gave all for me. For you.
He poured it all out.
He sacrificed. He, the sacrifice.
He went without, so we could be all in.
He gave everything.
He gave up so we could gain.
He makes all the difference.
He gives His perfection to us, covers us in His blood and says, “It is finished.”
It felt strange to walk Lent out this way. Felt almost wrong, going about my normal days, without making any effort to do something noble for Him or relate to His huge suffering by suffering small.
There is value in the giving, hear me out, but that was not my story this time around. The theme was found in these lines, “It is enough, and you are enough, because I gave enough; and I AM enough.”
His story is this (see Isaiah 52)…”he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (verse 5-6).
Through Jesus we have peace.
Through this perfect, spotless Lamb we are healed.
Because of Jesus we are forgiven.
Because of our Savior we are clean.
Because of what Jesus did, I can rest. My soul can rest in His sufficiency. I can walk about in freedom because He was bound for me. We can truly live, because He died.
It was easy and enjoyable not to flounder and suffer through Lent, yet, it was hard. It felt like I was taking advantage or making light of all that He gave up and gave to us all those years ago. This great salvation. The ultimate gift. Once and for all given in love, by love, for love.
It was uncomfortable not to give up anything this Lent, but I have gained grace; a clearer picture of the One who comforts this tired, try-hard heart.
Psalm 46:11 ““Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”