Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Giving it up vs OFFERING it up


I am not Catholic, Lutheran or Methodist, but I do participate in Lent and it seems like I've been going about it all wrong, which is probably why my Lenten "sacrifices" never stuck. A lovely and very wise, former high school friend pointed this out to me this morning and it really FINALLY made sense to me.

I posted on my FB status that I am giving up a couple of things for the Lenten period and focusing on two main things. I spoke about how my hope is that giving those two things up for Lent would carry over to being every day changes in my life. (My mouth...I have issues with keeping it clean when I'm in traffic and/or dealing with idiot drivers, but I never, ever use profanity around my kids. And, I smoke every now and then. Ok, 2 cigs a day. One going to work and one leaving work. Don't smoke on the weekends.) I wrote of how cutting both of these out for 40 days should make a difference in various areas of my life for the better.

My lovely friend wrote the following:

"I saw it put so nicely on another page where a conversation was being held about Lent and the writer said, "join us sufferers". The person writing back stated, "Jesus suffered and died, so that we don't have to suffer." I thought that was well put. If God is speaking to you about something, listen to Him, pray and ask Him to help you stop whatever you are failing at. Don't have to "give it up" for Lent – OFFER it up instead. Such a great thing for us non-denominational Christians! Amazing GRACE!"

I never thought of it that way, but really, it makes SO MUCH SENSE! Instead of suceeding by trying to do this "on our own", so to speak by "giving" it up, we are, really, without relying on the Lord for help, learning that any plan is doomed to fail eventually when we go that route.

By OFFERING it up to the Lord, we are humbling ourselves with our issues and telling Him that we have no chance of doing it on our own. We are admitting that we NEED His help to get through whatever it is we are trying to get rid of in our lives and we are TRUSTING that He will do it, when we obey what it is that He wants us to do.

Really, the observation of Lent is about external rituals. God is after something much deeper than those external rituals. He wants our hearts. He wants our souls. He wants them completely. We should rejoice in the fact that we are 100% forgiven through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We should be praying for guidance from the Lord about what are the stumbling blocks in our lives that are hindering our relationship with God and others. What is it He wants us to "give up" by offering it up to Him? Once He leads us to the things we need to work on ridding our lives of and we entrust the struggle to Him, often this leads to a healthier lifestyle, whether physically, mentally or other, and creates a less stressful life all the way around.

I know I have a LOT more than just those two things to work on and offer up and I believe with God's help and surrendering myself to His direction and offering those areas up to Him, that ultimately I will be successful and I have nobody to thank but God for the changes He is going to make in my life for the better.

Live and learn every day. I'm learning to do it for the RIGHT reasons.

In writing this, the wonderful hymn "Trust and Obey" was brought to my mind...I'd say it fits pretty perfectly!

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.


Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.


Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.


But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.


Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.


1 comment:

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Lent - the concept is totally foreign to me, really. We never did this in our church either now or in the past. I'm not saying anything is wrong with it, I'm just saying that it's not something that I do. Actually, I don't have a desire to do it. My mind is so cluttered with stuff that I'd probably forget about Lent throughout the day, anyway.

I hope you have a blessed day.