Friday, March 23
Scripture for the Day: Ephesians 5
Matthew 16:24 records, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, ‘If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’”
Sin. Suffering. Self-denial. These are topics that no Christian is particularly excited about . Yet, these are essentials points of reflection throughout the year and especially in the Lenten period. We prefer comfort, ease, speed, and extra value as a way of life. The conveniences can be blessings, but a lifestyle of comfort does not seem to suit our souls.
This season of inward reflection can be enhanced by spiritual disciples like longer prayer, extra meditation, fasting, and self-denial that lead to discomfort and even suffering. American Christians in particular have an anemic doctrine of suffering. This process of “denying self” is a spiritually healthy task that reminds us of Galatians 2:20 when Paul declares, “It is no longer I that lives, but Christ lives in me.” It changes our attitudes of living and can purify our heart in relationship to our selves, to neighbor, and to our God. It prepares our soul for the celebration of life that comes with Easter.
Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness; Noah spent forty days on the ark; we spend forty days in Lent. Both of these predecessors went without, and we can only imagine the spiritual growth that comes with total dependence on God. Dealing with personal selfishness is one of the many ways to worship our God!
Dr. Brian Shelton, Vice President for Academic Affairs
This season of Lent may I let you speak to me about my sin. May I be willing to suffer and carry whatever cross you may ask me to carry. Lord may I practice self-denial to remind myself that it is no longer I who live but you who lives in me. As I deal with my selfishness may it be a sweet offering of worship to you.