Ash Wednesday

I think this time of year is fascinating. At least it is here in the Midwest. There is a constant struggle between Winter and Spring for dominance in our lives. The struggle reminds us of a not so pleasant past. It also serves as a reminder of beautiful things to come.

“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!” – Ezekiel 18:31,32

I truly want to commit to a closer relationship with God. However, I also want to pursue selfish interests. I want to pursue an unachievable level of success that is in my head. I would like to be more respected, and I would like to hold more power in my life. How do I choose thoughts, words, and actions that are not my own, but that belong to God?

In Isaiah chapter 6:5, Isaiah is plagued with guilt after experiencing a true encounter with a merciful God. Isaiah has a realization that he has built a wall between him and the love of God. From my experience, I believe that some of this could be so that he doesn’t have to feel emotions he is uncomfortable with. His outburst in verse 5 shows his true guilt, as well as his true emotions. It’s not an easy path to embrace what a loving God causes us to feel. This has often caused my failure. In the past, I have also been guilty of struggling with what the act of moving on after failure looks like. The guilt has driven me away. The guilt has become my motivator. The guilt became my idol. I am doubtful that, like Isaiah, a seraphim will fly to me, touch my mouth with coal to take away my guilt and atone for my sin.

Today is the first day of a Lenten season in which I hope to break down this idol bit by bit. If I can’t begin to look past myself in an authentic way, I will be of no use to anyone.

 

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