Daily Practices for Lent: Day 15

`I remember being taught about sin in Sunday School. It was the deepest darkest thing anyone could ever do. And, if you did sin, you were to instantly know shame, hang your head, not talk about it and as quickly as you could grovel before God hoping that maybe he would forgive you. Though grace was talked about, as a child sin was much louder and I feared it. It felt like a disease I could get on me if I touched the wrong thing, hung out with the wrong person, listened to or watched something that had sin in it. Sin, in my minds eye was a giant abyss of darkness I needed to stay away from, because it would swallow me up if I didn’t.

Today sin and I have a different relationship. I will sin and I do, it’s not what I want, but instead of instantly shaming myself for it, I picture myself as a child learning to walk. No good parent yells at their child for falling down when they are learning to walk. That would be cruel. But instead, the parent, picks the child up, or encourages the child to get up, reminds them of who they are and what they can do and let’s them try again. Sin is any part of my life in belief, thought or behavior that turns from Jesus, takes matters into my own hands, believes God isn’t good, and removes me from looking at Him as king. Sin says to Jesus, “I can do it on my own,” “I know better than you.” “Let me do it my way!” “I don’t think you’re good.” Sin, is inevitable and where there are people, there is sin.

I have stopped shaming myself for sin for the most part, but instead I’ve started asking Jesus to show me what is motivating it. What can I learn about where my trust lies from how I sin? What can I discover about my belief in Jesus when I sin? When I am fully turned towards sin, I have turned away from Jesus. Life becomes real dark, real fast, when my back is towards the light. Lies are very easy to believe, when my face engages them, rather than the truth. Evil becomes the sight of my eyes, when my eyes are not looking at good. Sin is a sort of lawlessness that is offensive to almost any person when one views it. For sin, does not radiate Jesus, the way, truth and life, in any way.

Jesus’ invitation was to believe him, receive his truth, walk in his way, because he loves us and he is good. So, he invites us to be with him, to look at him, to take hold of him. No matter the struggle, every person has an area in his/her life where there is a  temptation to take matters into their own hands and forget the way of Jesus. Sin, separates us from Jesus, not because Jesus loves to shame us, but because when we sin, we have fixed our eyes on ourselves, a lie, or an evil and turned from Jesus.

Jesus invites us to turn around. Repent (turn around) and believe! Turn back towards him.  Submit again. Believe that He is good. Believe in His way for you. Receive His love and let your life be covered by His goodness, rather than your shame. Sin leads towards that which kills, steals, and destroys and Jesus always leads a person to life… and a good, full, abundant one.

This morning I woke up singing ‘Nothing But the Blood of Jesus’. The song speaks to Jesus’ saving work on the cross. The cross, the place where Jesus died, to take on all the sin of the world,  it is a powerful gift that consumes all that which seeks to separate us from God and invites us to full connection through Jesus. It is powerful and it rescues us from darkness and places us in the kingdom of light, as our faces are towards Jesus.

Today’s Practice is: Turning Around

Take a moment to listen to the song below. Imagine Jesus is before you and is asking you to look at him. What do you have to turn away from to look at Jesus? Is it a scary situation that you don’t believe Jesus can enter into? Is it fear that Jesus isn’t who he says he is? Is it a behavior that you really want and cling to with entitled permission?

Imagine Jesus invites you to turn around. You look at Him. What do you see? What do you experience when you look at Jesus.

Throughout your day, Pay attention to where there is fear, resentment, where you lie or lust after someone, places where you worry, get cruel, experience hatred or where you feel unacceptability and shame. When you experience any of these, pause, and say aloud, “Jesus I am looking elsewhere for life. I again turn towards you as the giver of all good things and I receive your love for me.” Turn around and take hold of Jesus and his great love for you.

Listen: Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Pray: Jesus thank you for taking on my sin, taking on all that separates me from God. Thank you for inviting me into relationship with you and inviting me to believe and receive from you every good and perfect gift. Jesus, I turn towards you this morning to receive your way, your truth and your life. I turn from all that kills, steals and destroys. I take hold of you and let go of all that falsely declares will fulfill me, but instead robs from my life and experience of you. Thank you for the power of your work on the cross. Amen

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