“Do not say in your heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land’; whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out before you.”
When I was a little boy of 4 or 5 years, and people would come to our house to visit, I always thought they were coming to see me; of course, they weren’t. But that didn’t stop me from wanting to be in on everything that was being said. I didn’t want to miss out on anything. The guests had come to see my Mom or Dad, but that wasn’t obvious to me. After all, why wouldn’t they come to see me? But then, what my Mom and Dad would usually say to me was crushing.
The greatest obstacle we all must get over in life is – ourselves. Perhaps because God gave each us a human will to live, we do things to preserve ourselves. We take care of our bodies. We feed and clothe them. We also take care of our spirits. We open them up to things that fill our minds, and we endeavor to learn from those things.
But, here is the great danger. What we fill our minds with is of extreme importance. Like our bodies, if we fill our minds with things that are not healthy we become someone we don’t want to be. Often, we find ourselves trapped in a cycle filled with unhealthy things. The first unhealthy thing that happens is we begin to believe a lie. That lie is that it’s all about us. Satan wants us to think our lives here are all about us, but that’s not true. Who we are and all we have is all about God and His Will.
Lent is a time for breaking those cycles. In this season, we call our bodies and minds back to our true center – God. After letting our lives fill with clutter (which we do so easily without realizing it) during the year, we need a time for re-centering, for Spring cleaning if you will.
In the years following the Exodus, the children of Israel needed a lot of re-centering. After centuries of slavery, they found themselves delivered into a land flowing with milk, honey and freedom. But, it wasn’t because they deserved it. God made it clear to them that it wasn’t because of any righteousness of their own. None of us has any righteousness of our own; we only have that which God gives us.
When I hung around too long with my Mom and Dad asking all sorts of question, you know, dominating their time when friends had come to see them, they would say, “Go and play. We’re trying to visit here”. That hurt. What I heard was, “You know Bradley, it’s not all about you!” That is a lesson I’ve had to learn and re-learn many times. If we’re not careful, we begin to believe in our own righteousness. We begin to think we are the center of our lives. But, scripture makes it clear anything good of me is from God and not of myself.
Won’t you take time this Lent to renew your heart by re-centering it upon God and his Word? Perhaps you’ve gotten too busy to pray and have a devotional time. Perhaps you’ve even stopped going to church. This Lent, commit to renewing yourself in Christ, and remember…it’s not all about you.
My daily Lenten prayer – “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit. ” NRSV