My daughters and I were recently talking about our favorite holidays. Bella, my 9 year old, is passionate about Independence Day while Abbi, who is 8, gets giddy over St. Patrick’s Day. I found this both surprising and fascinating. Typically, children choose the big holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or even their birthdays – as favorites. Mine did not.
As I thought about it, my appreciation for them grew.. These less traditional festivities show their individuality. As for me, I tend to be more old school in my thinking. There is just nothing more exciting than Easter!
I love my mom’s ham and rice dinner. I love visiting our childhood church and hearing Dad preach. I love the pretty dresses my daughters and nieces wear, the fun hats Aidan sports, and watching all the kiddos hunt for candy-filled eggs. But, mostly, I love why we celebrate Easter. This year, as we prepare to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus, I am especially intrigued with the idea of lent.
Becky introduced you to our Heart of Lent series last week. I have never observed lent before but, as I began to research it, found it to be quite beautiful. The purpose of lent is to help us better understand God’s love. It’s a time for us to examine our own sin, to reflect on the cross, and to joyfully remember the hope we have in heaven.
At Easter we are quick to reflect on the crucifixion and to focus on the resurrection, but how often do we take the time to examine our own sin? Afterall, our sin is why Jesus was crucified. We should not forget the significance of this. So what, exactly, is sin?
- Anything we say that’s displeasing to God.
- Anything we do that’s displeasing to God.
- Anything we think that’s displeasing to God.
When I carefully look at my actions at the end of each day, the amount of sinful acts I’ve committed is disturbing. I don’t want to respond in anger, but I often do. I try not to act selfishlessly, yet it still happens. I would prefer to stay humble, but my pride is always fighting back. That’s because our sin nature is constantly at war with the Spirit. No one is exempt. Romans 3:23 makes it clear that we all sin, and it’s a serious offense.
Sin is the reason we are separated from God. It’s what brought Jesus to the crude cradle as a baby and it’s what nailed Him to the cruel cross as a man. But in that horrific moment of His death, the invisible wall of separation crumbled. The door to heaven was opened and we were invited to enter in. For Christ followers, eternity is exciting.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. –Romans 6:23
When we first confessed our sin to God and thanked Jesus for the cross, we confirmed our place in heaven. But that is not where repentance stops. Just as we say “sorry” to the people we’ve hurt and offended, we should also continue apologizing to The Father for our ongoing sinful acts. Repentance reminds us that we’ve been rescued from the grips of hell. It keeps Jesus’s sacrifice and God’s forgiveness at the forefront of our thoughts.
As we approach Easter let’s take the time to examine our own sin. To recognize it. To confess it. To apologize for it. And to thank God for the way He saved us from it.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out… –Acts 3:19a