2 Corinthians 10: 3-5
As we enter the season of Lent, we are called to reflect and be introspective, aware of our own sin and shortcomings, and to increase our determination to become better disciples of the Christ who died on the cross for us.
I'd like to share a thought that could be a guiding inspiration for you during Lent. I am sure it will be for me. It is a quote from St. Augustine:
If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.
I call this "The Gospel of Me." I believe each of us tends to create our own warped view of the gospel, based on where we are comfortable. For example, if someone had a deep love of money and was very driven by money, they would tend to diminish the scriptural admonitions about the love of money. They would not want to pay as much attention to the many verses on generosity. They might be a fine Christian in many aspects, but there are parts of the Bible that don't align with their personal priorities. They might remain comfortable with living with an exception to what scripture says.
This is a danger we all face. I often tell classes that I'm way too comfortable with the sins I commit, but I'm less comfortable with the sins that others commit. My internal ethics say it's OK for me to do certain things, but if you did the same things, I wouldn't think as highly of you. This is hypocrisy within me. This is rebellion within me. This is a Gospel of Me. This is a flaw I would like to keep rooting out during Lent.
Pause and think deeply about this for yourself. Can you relate? What is contained in your Gospel of Me?
Our first step to rooting out these warped ideas is to pray for divine tools. Paul writes about this in 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
In this analogy, those "comfortable sins" have become our strongholds. We rely on the Gospel of Me rather than relying on Jesus' teachings. We need to demolish these strongholds through prayer, scripture, and meditation, with determination and self-control fostered in us by the Holy Spirit.
I pray for you that this Lent will be a wonderful period of introspection and of achieving a closer relationship with God.
Starting Friday, my Lenten 7-Day Practical Faith Blogs will focus on spiritual disciplines that can help us implement and maintain our practical faith during Lent and beyond. I'll cover primary disciplines such as Prayer, Study, Worship and Meditation, plus three of the lesser-recognized disciplines of Fasting, Fellowship and Simplicity. Please check back on Fridays during Lent to learn more.