Thursday, February 19, 2015

3 Questions for Lenten Self-Reflection

Lent - that holy time of repentance, self-reflection, mourning, penitence. We look at our lives, our actions, our thoughts - we see where we fall short. We take the time to REPENT, to TURN AWAY from evil thought, evil deeds.

Oh, my thoughts and deeds aren't really evil and sinful, right?

Wrong. When we are saved, it becomes easier to live in accordance with God's commands - but we are still human, still broken, still prone to sin. In fact, many of us may become guilty of new sins - sins of self-righteousness and pride ... we may be ignoring the planks in our own eyes as we reach to remove specks from our brothers' eyes...

We live in a broken world, a fallen world, a world in which our nature is to sin and we fight our nature - with God's Grace - to not sin.

These are the questions I ask myself:

1 - Are my actions pleasing to God? Am I putting God first? Do I model sacrificial love and faith? Do I feed the hungry, clothe the poor, visit the sick and the imprisoned? Do I act in a manner that shows I love my brothers and sisters - no matter how strong or weak? Do I act the hypocrite and put on a show for others while feeling differently in my heart?

2 - Are my thoughts pleasing to God? Do I praise Him honestly and joyfully? Do I think in a loving manner? Do I read my Bible daily and reflect on what I have read - or have I let that habit lapse? Do I spend time murdering my enemies in my mind - or do I resist the temptation and turn to God for strength? Do I really lean on Him, or do I pretend to?

3 - What can I do - today - to bring God back into my focus? Rather than focus on GIVING UP  candy or television or something else as a sacrifice, I try to focus on DOING something sacrificial. DOING something to make God my focus. One year I knitted baby caps for an hour every day for a local NICU, knitting a prayer into every stitch for the fragile baby that would wear each cap -  another year I strove to spend 1 hour every morning with my Bible, reading, reflecting - and then writing. This year? This year my focus will be posting daily reflections and prayers and Bible verses (here and on a Lenten Reflections facebook page I run with a dear friend) - and I am also committed to taking my wee grandson to church with me every week.

Do you have any special ways you approach Lenten self-reflection?