“…I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, obeying his voice, and holding fast to him…”Deuteronomy 30:19-20
We have now entered Lent, embarking on a journey of dying to oneself and putting on a new life in Christ. How do we actually do that in these 40 days of Lent?
In our imperfect human self, we are broken and lack our true identity in Christ. This Bible Study I’m doing this Lent dives deep into the reality of identity. The true self versus the false self as Richard Rohr puts it. One concept that rang deep in my ears as I listened to a talk accompanying the Bible study was what we hear when God speaks and what we hear when the enemy speaks. God speaks life, giving us hope, joy, courage, direction and love. The enemy speaks death, lies of despair, condemnation, hopelessness, fear and confusion.
When Moses tells the Israelites to choose life, perhaps he’s inviting them to discern God’s voice, their true self. In order to obey God and hold fast to Him, we must first hear His voice. That involves discerning our true identity and the counterfeit one.
The one “who follows not the counsel of the wicked… but delights in the law of the Lord… yields its fruit in due season.”Psalm 1:1-3
Later in the Gospel reading today, we hear Jesus tell his disciples “if anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) I always thought that was a tall order. But then I look back at my own brokenness, my pain and struggles and see redemption and growth in wisdom and understanding of who Christ is in me. I still carry a few of my crosses I’ve picked in my journey. They aren’t as heavy as they use to be. Unravelling my true identity buried underneath the shards of broken pieces, God lightened the burden as He began to reveal who I am in Christ. I didn’t see it initially but I see it today as I continue my journey through the death of the false self the enemy wanted me to believe I was and renew who I am in Christ. I am beloved and not shards of broken pieces. And you are too.
This season of Lent, I know God has more unraveling in store for me and I find hope in the new life waiting for me at Easter when I shed the dead skin of lies the enemy has manipulated me with and place a glimmering new skin on of the joyful, hopeful, courageous, love of Christ.
I invite you to ask yourself whose voice am I listening to and what lies am I believing. Perhaps this is where your Lenten journey begins. Blessings and peace as you embrace a journey of death to life.