"You Christians will have to sing better songs, if I am to believe in your Savior; you will have to look more redeemed if I am to believe in your Redeemer." (Nietzsche)
Lent is just around the corner. For many that means a great deal of lemon-faced suffering.
While I am all about the fasting, I am not about the lack of joy in being united with Him in our sufferings.
Was it not Jesus Himself that said…”And when you fast, do not choose to become gloomy, like the hypocrites. For they alter their faces, so that their fasting may be apparent to men. Amen I say to you, that they have received their reward.” Matthew 6:16.
My goal this Lent, along with whatever I decide to “give-up,” is to add...a smile! I am going to make a real concerted effort to “joyfully suffer” with Christ and let it show all over my face!
I truly believe that if we have had an encounter with Christ, no matter what else may be true, we have a great deal to be thankful about. My challenge to myself (and to you, if you care to join me) this Lent is this: to wake up each day and choose ONE THING that I will praise God for all day long. I’ll let that be my “go-to” all day. When things get frustrating, or upsetting or edgy because I am HUNGRY or tired or just plain ornery, I’ll say, “ But today...I choose to praise You God for _______.”
When we choose to PRAISE God, things change, we change, the atmosphere around us changes, and hopefully our face reflects that change.
The world LONGS to see that Christians are “different.” The world is HUNGRY for this. The world expects us to be different. And we should be! This is a gift you can give the world. Think of it as “alms giving” through your expression. Smiles are contagious...pass it on. Spread the Love of God through your face, especially during Lent. Let this Lent be one, not only of identifying with Him in His suffering, but also identifying with Him through His joyful suffering.
“For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Lent is a time to prepare ourselves to receive Him more fully. What better present could we give Him than by fasting-- creating an inward space of emptiness which produces a longing inside of us to be filled by Him. Then we outwardly show an expression of thanksgiving, our smile, because HE has fulfilled the deepest desire of our hearts. And, we do not have to wait until Easter Sunday for this. Our Risen, Glorified, Resurrected, Amazing, Loving, Powerful, Spectacular Savior is with us, every day--even during Lent, just as He is everyday of our lives. We just get to celebrate this fact in the most beautiful way on Easter Sunday. And our time of uniting ourselves with Him during Lent in His suffering help us to appreciate the Resurrection and its power all the more.
"From sour-faced saints, O Lord, deliver us." St Teresa of Avila wrote so long ago.
This Lent, as always, be sure and let the Light of Christ first shine in you and then through you because we have a great deal to smile about… :)
A glad heart lights up the face, but an anguished heart breaks the spirit. Proverbs 15:13
I want to know You, trust You, and Love You more and more each day. I pray that You will help me to prepare for Lent in a way that would be most pleasing to You. I do not want to be a “sour-faced saint.” I want to have Your light in me so much so that I cannot help but show it in my eyes,in my smile and in kind acts of love done in Your Name. Come Lord and fill me anew! I want to be like Your beloved disciples whom people recognized as having been with You because they were transformed by Your grace, power and love. Light me up Lord! Let me shine for You.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I will be taking a slight break during Lent as part of my “fast.” I will only post once per week on Tuesdays, starting next Tuesday, February 17. The time I am not writing, I will be praying! Blessings on each of you. pax, m