We are 18 days into Lent. How has your Lent been going so far? Have you done anything different in the last 18 days? Do you feel closer to the Lord today than you did 18 days ago? Last week I talked about how to observe a holy Lent. The invitation in the Book of Common Prayer that is said before ashes are imposed during an Ash Wednesday service invites us to observe a holy Lent. This invitation goes on to tell us how to do just that.
It starts by self-examination and repentance. So what does self-examination look like and how do you do it? It starts by taking a close look at your life and seeing where your life is in line with God’s will and where it isn’t. It is looking at your life and and the sinfulness in it. Often we realize we have done something wrong and we ask the Lord for forgiveness. Seeking His forgiveness is just the beginning. We are to follow it with repentance which is a turning away from our sin.
Self-examination is more than us looking at what we feel is the sinfulness in our lives, it requires us to seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal to us areas where we are sinning. Often we are sinning in areas that we aren’t even recognizing as sin. We tend to rationalize, justify and minimize our sinfulness. During Lent, the Lord calls us to shine a bright light on our sinfulness and allow Him to highlight areas we may not even recognize ourselves.
Once the Lord shows us an area of sinfulness, we need to repent. Repenting is difficult because it is completely turning away from that sin. It is not ‘trying’ to do it but actually doing it. When the Lord shows us our sin and we look at it from His perspective, we realize how wretched it is in comparison with His holiness. When we understand how truly ugly and hurtful our sin is, we are inspired to turn from it.
If you have not taken the time for self-examination, there is no better time than the present. If we are to observe a holy Lent and be transformed this Lenten season, we must start by taking a hard look at our sinfulness. If you have not had to repent of an area of sinfulness yet this Lent, it isn’t too late. This is one of those situation that we try to avoid and put off when all we need to do is just do it.