So what is it that you gave up for lent? TV? Social media? (that’s me!) Sugar? What if I told you God’s not concerned at all with what you ‘give up’ and totally watching your thankfulness? You might squirm a bit like me, but then realize it’s pretty awesome news.
In the Old Testament (Leviticus) you can read about life before Jesus. How God’s people had to burn up their crops and livestock daily as sacrifices for their sin, guilt… and fellowship with God. I’m pretty sure you don’t have a continual barbeque to the Lord happening on your back porch. Neither do I.
Now we take that last part for granted. Without Jesus’s atonement for your daily sin, you’d still be burning up the best of your summer garden produce or the first bag of groceries you bring home from the store. It’d be a daily reminder you are far from God and something needs to be done to make the relationship right. How awful does that sound??
Instead we go through our day without ever sacrificing because Jesus is the sacrifice needed to restore your relationship with the Father. And what does He want? Not your ‘have to’ offerings or ‘have to give ups’–but your ‘get to’ attitude.
In Psalm 50 God tells His people, look it’s good that you’re trying to make it right day in and day out, but let’s be clear, I don’t need your stuff. You’re not giving me anything that isn’t already mine–the whole world and everything in it to be exact belong to me. So what do I want? Thanksgiving.
Literally the best thing you have to offer God is your attitude. Your thankful praise. Your ‘get to’ instead of ‘have-to’. Your eyes looking up to the actual provider of everything you have and will ever need and acknowledging that everything is His and He’s been generous to you.
It’s a complete mental shift for me. I always want to DO something to show God I love Him. And the good news is He’s done it all. He’s given all. He just wants to gather up my heart and yours and hear you say, Father you’re pretty awesome. Thank you for everything.
So what does that mean for Lent? It means you can still find ways to seek God and practice sacrificial living. But practice THANKSGIVING more than anything. Keep a gratitude journal. Set alarms on your phone 3 times a day to remember to focus on all God has done for YOU. Serve out of the overflow. And model all of this to your kids so they see you in awe of your Father through Lent.
A prayer to get you started….Thank You God for all that you are and all you provide. Including your Son who was the only sacrifice that could fill in the gap between us and heaven. You are so generous and good. I praise you! Amen.
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Andrea Chatelain’s mission is to meet women in their struggles and love them forward with God’s truth. She’s a Midwest mom of three, faith and family writer, and college English instructor to immigrants and refugees. She believes Jesus transforms lives when His people boldly seek Him. Her writing reflects her love for Jesus and heart for fellow believers.