This is part of a series of devotionals throughout the season of Lent. Each week is a different theme to deeper explore the emotions and significance attached to Lent and the buildup to Resurrection Sunday.
I love working in the garden and doing landscaping. Unlike a lot of people, I have no inhibitions getting dirt all over me. The other day I put fresh mulch around our flower beds. 16 bags, one box cutter, and two hours later, the front of the house got a whole new look. I, on the other hand, needed a serious cleaning.
I needed to get the dirt and grime off of me and be clean again. I needed to wash off what didn’t belong on me. Because I chose to be in that environment, it affected my appearance, but not my identity.
The ancient prophet Isaiah shared a message from God with the people of Israel about cleansing themselves. His words ring so true for our hearts even today,
16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. 18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” – Isaiah 1:16-18
Lent is about letting God’s holiness scrub our souls. We need to starve the evil in our hearts. If we think sin is just a bad habit to be broken, that’s like putting a band-aid on cancer. We need to be cured, not bandaged.
Lent is about choosing what’s right. Doing what’s right takes time and discipline and effort and faith that God’s way is still better than any lie we ever believed. God never forced Himself on anybody; He gives us choices. We get to choose grace. We get to choose forgiveness.
We also get to choose justice. There’s no shortage of injustices plaguing our world today. Water crisis, slave trade, exploitation of others, and health epidemics are all capable of change if we would demonstrate our faith like God created us to do.
But the deepest change happens only through the cross. We have more than the proverbial dirt on our hands; we have Christ’s blood on our hands because of our sin. And the change comes when His grace and forgiveness cleanses our hearts and hands.
May you have the honesty to repent, the courage to ask forgiveness, and the faith to be washed clean in Christ again.