Lent is not about giving up coffee so that you can kick that caffeine addiction or chocolate so that you can lose weight or Facebook so that you can spend less time addicted to your phone. Don’t get me wrong, all those things are good. But lent isn’t about giving things up that will make your life better, healthier.
Lent is about surrender.
From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus surrendered to the will of the Father. In the days and hours leading up to the garden of Gethsemane, even Jesus struggled to surrender to the will of the Father. He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will,” and then, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done” (Matthew 26:39, 42). But surrender He did.
He surrendered to the will of the Father, by saying, “Not my will, but yours be done.” He surrendered His whole life, His entire ministry to the Father – all of it, every last minute of it. He surrendered control of His situation to the Father, knowing that His plan was greater. He surrendered to the cross, to the most brutal death known to man. Lent is about surrender.
Surrendering all of our lives to Christ, not just part of it.
Surrendering our plans for our lives, letting God’s will prevail.
Surrendering the illusion of control, giving God control of our lives.
Surrendering to the cross.
Lent is about surrender. When was the last time that you surrendered your entire life to Christ – not just the parts that are easy? When was the last time you surrendered to the will of Christ, His good, pleasing, and perfect will? When was the last time you surrendered control to the One in control of it all?
What if, this Lenten season and all the days after it, we strove to do what Jesus did – surrender? What if we gave up coffee so that, instead of spending the time making it in the morning, we used that time to pray for the strength to surrender? What if we cave up chocolate so that every time we thought about eating it, we instead prayed for God to help us give up control of our lives? What if we gave up Facebook so that we could use that data and time to read the Word on our lunch break, praying for the will of God to be evident in our lives?
I think we’d see a big change in the way we live our lives, in how we see God working in our lives. Because surrender is what we have been called to, and it’s hard. Christ, our example, surrendered to the Father, to the cross. With His help, surrender is possible. Surrender.
Kristen Entwistle is a graduate student pursuing her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University. She helps to lead worship at her church on Sunday mornings and leads a women’s Bible study on Saturday mornings. She was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was three months old, and has seen God work through the ups and downs of life and through her disease. In response to God's calling, Kristen started All For Him, a ministry seeking to encourage and challenge women of all ages in Christ.
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