Lent: Ideas for a New Sacrifice
"Replacing Old Thoughts with God's True You"
We entered the season of Lent last week. Lent consists of a 40 day preparation for remembering and identifying with Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. Many Christian faith practices encourages Jesus followers to "give something up for Lent" as they consider Jesus' sacrifice for them.
Coffee. Chocoate. Internet. Exercise. Meat. . . the ideas for what to give up vary from person to person. But, I wonder if we could flip this thought on its side a bit and look at it from a different angle. What if instead of giving up something external, we looked inside and made a decision to give up "thinking old thoughts about ourselves."
Old thoughts? What are they? Old thoughts consist of any agreements we make which go outside God's truth about us. It's so easy to do: "I am so slow." "I am overweight--I just don't look good." "I am not one of those special ones. . . " "I am not cut out to do that role (fill in the blank!)"
Do any of these look familiar? We have a tradition in Missio Lux which stops a person when they are speaking "old thoughts" about themselves which are in direct contrasts to God's truth about them. I seem to get "caught" as often as anyone else, those agreements slip in so easily most of the time we just don't even notice them.
So, what does God have to say about our true you?
He says we are "his beloved children in whom he is well pleased" (Mark 1:11). We are "made in God's image." (Gen 1:26-28). We are "mirrors which brightly reflect his glory" (2 Cor 3:18). We are "treasures in jars of clay" (2 Cor 4:7) We are "Jesus' friends" (John 15). We are the "Body of Christ" (1st Cor 12). We are "adopted into the family of God" (Romans 8:14-15). We are "heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ" (Romans 8:16-17). We are the bridegroom's bride (Rev 21).
It doesn't stop. The Bible is full of images which tell us over and over how magnificient we are because we are made in God's image. We are fashioned by the Creator of the Universe, and we were important enough to God that he was willing to send his son, Jesus, to earth to show us how much he wants a relationship with us.
So, how about it? How about a decision to stop "thinking old thoughts for Lent," and instead to replace them with God's true thoughts about who he truly made us to become.
It takes 30 days to start a new habit....Lent is 40 days. Consider how different your life will become when you replace the old with the new. Oh yes, this is another word about our identity: "You are a new creation, the old is gone, and the new has come!" (2 Cor 5:17).