On this day, we focus on our sins, repentance and God’s forgiveness and grace. It is a reminder of the price our Lord paid to free us from the grip of sin.
So today, as we think about the seriousness of the cross and what it means, examine your heart in the area of relationships. Take a few moments to engage in quiet contemplation. What might you give up for lent?
This year I am giving up all sweets. But in years past, I have given up all kinds of different things. One year, it was worry, another it was anger at someone who had hurt me.
Pastor Phil of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Old Bridge, New Jersey posted a list of 20 things you could give up for lent. He also suggested you give these up for life, not just lent.
- Guilt – I am loved by Jesus and he has forgiven my sins. Today is a new day and the past is behind.
- Fear – God is on my side. In him I am more than a conqueror. (see Romans 8)
- The need to please everyone – I can’t please everyone anyways. There is only one I need to strive to please.
- Envy – I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.
- Impatience – God’s timing is the perfect timing.
- Sense of entitlement – The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace.
- Bitterness and Resentment – The only person I am hurting by holding on to these is myself.
- Blame – I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.
- Gossip and Negativity – I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic bringing other people down.
- Comparison – I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.
- Fear of failure – You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fail forward.
- A spirit of poverty – Believe with God that there is always more than enough and never a lack
- Feelings of unworthiness – You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. (see Psalm 139)
- Doubt – Believe God has a plan for you that is beyond anything you could imagine. The future is brighter than you could ever realize.
- Self-pity – God comforts us in our sorrow so that we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
- Retirement – As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. That does not come to an end until the day we die.
- Excuses – A wise man once said, if you need an excuse, any excuse will do.
- Lack of counsel – Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.
- Pride – Blessed are the humble.
- Worry – God is in control and worrying will not help.
Thanks Pastor Phil for the challenging but great list!