As I journey deeper in to Lent this year I am more and more convinced that the whole point of this season is not about what I give up or sacrifice but about how I relate to God, or probably more importantly a revelation of how God sees me.
I pause to ponder what frees me, what releases me from the things that hold me back, what helps me to see the potential in myself that God sees....
Will abstaining from chocolate or wine, or bacon, or crisps help me with this, will a 40 day fast begin to make a difference? Now I am not criticising those who feel that they have been truly called to fasting, but I do wonder about our practice of abstinence when all it does is make us feel more holy; even more I am concerned for those who begin well but feel they have failed when they succumb to what they see as temptation.
I hear God's word:
"I’m after love that lasts, not more religion.
I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings."
Hosea 6:6 The Message
... and I begin to wonder if we have ever understood. What does it mean to know God, to be known by God, to be accepted and loved, to be met with mercy, grace, and forgiveness?
I now know that there is nothing I can do to make myself holy, there is nothing I can do to make God love me more than he already does, that there is nothing I can do to make myself acceptable, for I am loved, received and accepted just as I am. It has taken me years to understand this in a deep way, to delve beyond the surface of my own inconsistencies.
I now know that more than anything God wants me to know in a deep way that the Spirit testifies with my spirit that I am a much loved, cherished and accepted child of God...
Giving up chocolate, wine, crisps or even bacon butties makes no difference to this, nor does a 40 day fast...
More than anything I desire to know and to be known;
God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Mercy, not sacrifice...
The Message: Romans 8: 15-17