Lent could not have come at a better time this year. Just in the past week I’ve been forced to confront my darkness and call out the evil that lies there. It was an ugly process. I severely dislike a) being vulnerable and b) not having all the answers. Both of which were the case. But, even though it was ugly and hard, I learned (or, rediscovered rather) some really important truths.
1) I am not my mistakes. Praise God for that. I am not the filth and darkness I choose to live in. What I am is a daughter of Christ who sometimes insists on taking the wheel. And He lets me, for a minute. Just to show me who much better life is when I’m not in control of it.
2) There is no consequence to sin. Of all the truths, this one was easiest to grasp. In all of history and in all of the future, there has been one consequence: the murder of Jesus. That’s for every sin ever committed. So why would one of my sins have more of a consequence than the bloody, horrific slaughter of the perfect, spotless Christ? It can’t. The ‘consequence’ to my sin is a better understanding of the God who loves me and closer relationship with Him, and in recent cases, the same with my parents. How is that bad? After my sin, that is hardly what I deserve, but that’s what I get. It is grace and it’s enough to make me weep.
3) I need to name my enemy. I have been tormented by darkness for much of the last year. Darkness that I have refused to acknowledge. Darkness that I have named Mak. That isn’t its name though. Through my refusal to properly address it, Mak has become a life-consuming darkness. But no more. The name of the darkness is:
-Abaddon (Revelation 9:11)
-Accuser (Revelation 12:10)
-Adversary (1 Peter 5:8)
-Apollyon (Revelation 9:11)
-Beelzebul (Matthew 12:24)
-Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15)
-Deceiver (Revelation 12:9)
-Devil (Luke: 4:13)
-Enemy (Matthew 13:28, 39)
-Father of Lies (John 8:44)
These are a few of the names. The name in and of itself isn’t important. What’s important is naming and calling out that darkness with the authority of Jesus. The end result is freedom. Pure, unadulterated light. And now that I’ve experienced that, I want it for everyone.
During the season of lent, there is quite a bit that I am doing. Some giving up, some adding to my routine. All for the glory of God. The biggest thing is Diet Coke. I’m giving up artificial sweeteners in general, but it is Diet Coke in particular. In thinking about it, I’ve come to realize that Diet Coke isn’t just a comfort (though that does play a huge part in it) but it’s also become part of my identity. I am well known for my love of Diet Coke. But how distorted and far from God have I become when a soda becomes a bigger part of my identity? That also doesn’t begin to cover the affects it’s had and is having on my body.
Also for the benefit of my body is giving up all forms of sugar, carbs and dairy. Plus the addition of actually taking my vitamins and working out six times a week. This is part cleaning out my ‘innards, and part getting rid of comfort.
Along with taking care of my body this season is taking care of my spirit. Giving up internet as much as possible (excluding school and this blog), TV (American Idol and 24 excluded, those are family shows) which basically means giving up NCIS, Star Trek and Criminal Minds, and cell phone (except for when I really need it, which probably wont be often). This is born partially out of being sacrificial, partially in order to clear away some of the noise and partially for time. I have a lot of reading to be doing. As a family, we are going through The Great Exchange (six pages a day) and personally I’m reading the Bible (26 pages a day). So today, that’s six pages of chapter 5 and Genesis 1:1-31:55. Oh, and I’m also 71 pages behind in The Great Exchange. But I’m excited because I know that it is this closeness to God that I need right now.