Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalms 51:10-12)
As we begin our observance of Lent, we recognize our sins, and in repentance, deny ourselves and turn to God. It’s not hard for us to recognize sin – we’re very good at pointing out the sin of others, but perhaps not as adept or willing to admit our own faults. Repenting and turning to God is sometimes difficult because it requires us to confess our weakness. However, for most of us the hardest part is to deny ourselves. As individuals and a society we are not very good at this.
We are used to having our own way so often. The free will God gave us to make our own choices allows us to do wrong. We are called to see ourselves as the wayward children we are and by realizing our own faults, accept the forgiveness God offers us through Christ.
The Lenten practice of denying ourselves by fasting or avoiding certain things can help us to become more obedient to God’s will, but I have an additional suggestion – as we turn away from sin, turn toward God by doing something positive in its place. Use the time or money you are saving to donate to a cause you support, rest in the Lord by spending time in Scripture and prayer. Make your Lenten fast more than just giving up something for six weeks, instead give in to God.
Loving Lord, while we recognize our sins and are sorry, You blot them out through the cleansing gift of Jesus’s sacrifice for us. Bless us to be Your servants, aware of our weakness but empowered by You to share the Good News. Amen.