It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I started to understand the significance of the lent period - I think it is a great time for us as a church to press deeper in to God and to let go of things that hold our attention. It’s a time of recognising how much we need God, and in recognising that need it is about removing from ourselves the things that hinder us and the things that distract us from focussing on Jesus so that we can run the race of pursuing Jesus with all the perseverance that we have - Romans 12.
We see when Jesus goes in to the wilderness having been baptised that he doesn’t eat or drink for 40 days, and he gets hungry. Jesus throws off the very thing that physically keeps humans alive, because he knows that he is only truly alive when he is filled with the Father’s love and overflowing with the Holy Spirit. John 10:10 talks of how the enemy comes to steal kill and destroy but how Jesus comes to give life in it’s fulness. Jesus recognised that he needed the fulness of his father in order to live an abundant life. What are the things in your life that steal your gaze from God? Where is the enemy trying to steal kill and destroy? Why not take a moment to welcome the fulness of life that Jesus came to give you, and resolve to seek his face above all other things?
In the time of lent we should also be picking up things that draw us deeper in to God’s glory. What I felt like God has been saying to me is that he longs for us to be radiant with his glory just like when Moses went up the mountain and dwelt in God’s presence. When Moses came down the mountain the Israelites couldn't look at him because he shone with God's light. Psalm 34 says that those who look to him are radiant. I long for a church radiant with God’s glory, to walk in to Philly on a Sunday morning and for the glow of God’s glory be almost blinding. So seek him. Look to him. Need him in every moment. What does it look like for you to go up to the mountain? For me I am going to pray each day for a different friend who doesn't yet know Jesus that they will come to know the loving father I know! For you it may be committing to more fervently spending time with Him. Let the spirit lead you in to this time of wilderness now, and just think, am I seeking God with all I have, do I know my need for him?
The backwards thing about this is that you don’t realise how much you need Him until you start seeking him with your whole heart. Once you start looking to God in every moment you realise how you NEED him. This is something that God has put on my heart for this church during this time of lent, that it will be a time where each one of us becomes so desperately in need of him that we can’t help but seek him with all we are. In Matthew we are told that Jesus was hungry, that in his time of weakness he was tempted, and this is something that we should be aware of over lent. 2 Corinthians 12 tells us that in our weakness his strength is perfect, so during this time don’t be afraid of weakness because this is a time where God wants to bring healing and restoration in our lives. Give God time to work in you - let him in to the places where you have pain, the places where you are struggling. What we so often forget is that the God of heaven is on our side, he is for us - Romans 8 - and often it’s so easy to ask: why am I in pain; why am I struggling in a certain area; why is there hardship in my life if God is for me?
I urge you to be bold, and to be courageous, to trust that God’s plan is good, and to allow him in to that pain and that struggle and let him work, because when we ask why we put up a barrier between us that stops God from working in us the way he wants to. Be heavenly in the way that you live your life, don’t conform to the pattern of this world that plays the victim at every opportunity but press in to God in the midst of the struggle. Let your mind be transformed that you proclaim each day that God is your healer, your restorer and your strength.
Where in your life do you feel weak? Give those things to God. Some of us may need to say sorry for blaming God for those things, and some of us may just need to ask God to break in.
I heard a quote the other day that said “God will always fulfil his promises to you, but he is not obligated to fulfil your potential”. It is a relationship that we have with God. If we are not giving to him, seeking him, needing him and longing for him then God is not obligated to fulfil our potential. Your potential is your responsibility.
I believe everyone is anointed for great things. I believe everyone is called to a holy calling. But not everyone presses in to that.
Jesus knew that to achieve all that he had come to achieve he needed to be saturated in the father’s love. Saturate yourself in God. He will always complete his promises to you. When you seek him, you will become radiant. When you go after him you will see your potential fulfilled and his plans becoming reality in you. I believe that this is going to be a time where your God given potential begins to grow and grow and grow, as you seek him, as you commit to spending time with, as you recognise your need for him, you will rise towards reaching your potential.
Lent is such a great opportunity to decide to give more of your time to Him. To recognise that without God we are dust, and that as it says in John 15:5 that apart from him we can do nothing. But it’s also a great time to realise that nothing is impossible with God, that we have the God of heaven on our side. So let’s press into him with all we have this lent time, let’s throw off what hinders us and holds our gaze, let’s embrace our weakness and let him in and lets go up the mountain in whatever way that looks like and spend time in his glory.
Written by Joel Hamer