Lent Reflection- Day 3- The Cross and Self-Denial

Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it- Matthew 16:24-25

Mercy and Truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.  -Psalm 85:10

Way too often we get told to deny yourself and follow.  Unfortunately, no one tells us how. We flounder around full of good intentions, but ultimately become frustrated, because somehow it never seems enough. Eventually we become frustrated, self righteous or we give up and become cynical.  Sadly, either result pushes us further from the love of our Father God.

I don’t know that I have an answer for our failure (witness new years resolutions or Lenten resolutions) but I wonder if it would be helpful to see Lent (or any season of giving up the self) as an opportunity to give up our striving to get it done and simply accept God’s good gift of his righteousness.  Maybe instead of trying to be sinlessly bulletproof, we let the righteousness of God be enough for us.  Instead of trying to save our lives or our souls through our striving we save them instead by letting God make us righteous in spite of our failures, or maybe even through our failures.

This may be the place where mercy and truth meet, and righteousness and peace kiss. I’m hoping it’s the place we meet the Father.

 

Reflection: How do plan to accept God’s give of righteousness in this period of Lent?

Reading: Matthew 16:1-28

 

Submitted by: Rev. Jim Johnson

New Life International UMC

Image: https://faithupsidedown.org/count-the-cost/carry_cross