On Sin and Lent

This is a guest post by Jonny Craig. Also read Jonny's other Lent post, A New Take on Lent. He's the same great mind that brought us, Let's Talk Religion and Politics.

How do I empty me of... me? When I investigate my innermost desires, I believe I can say honestly that I want to be a vessel from which God pours our healing to the world.

But how?

This is where my self-reflection continues to take me. How do I die to self? I’m struck by the way Paul says “Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” There’s a very pronounced action that I must take here. God has forgiven me through Christ, yes, but I still have a responsibility to kill my former self in order for my new self to live.

These are dark thoughts for lent.

But oddly appropriate.

We celebrate this time of year as a countdown to history’s most important death and even more vital Resurrection. We are all called to be reflections of Christ, isn’t our death and subsequent resurrection related to his own? Hasn’t his sacrifice showed us how to sacrifice?

Several days ago I found myself alone, sitting in silence. I took the opportunity to journal, and here’s a bit of what I wrote: “I readily admit that I’m a sinner, but when I put names to those sins: anger, lust, jealousy, greed... it begins to crack at the image I keep of myself.”

These are the things I’m full of. Paul names these same things and says “put them to death.” After that difficult command, he explains the result: that we’ll be clothed with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Those are the qualities God will use to change the world.

It’s time to get murderous with my sin.

This is a part of a series of daily reflections on the season of Lent.