The Burning Reality of a Surrendered Heart
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
While we enjoyed the blessings of Advent and the wonder of God coming down to reside among us, at this liturgical time of year we are reminded of how that wonder was fulfilled when Jesus 'set out resolutely for Jerusalem' and died on the cross for the salvation of the world.
If you're anything like me you've probably gone through past Lents trying your best to absorb as much as you can while failing, growing and learning. Maybe you've had some not so fruitful Lents that were consumed with a legalistic approach to observances and a focus on what you were doing rather than who you were being or what wanted to be manifest in you. Perhaps you've had some good and maybe even been great Lenten journeys were you become closer to God . This year I want to propose that God has even more to give you and is calling you into a deeper communion with him. He wants to receive your heart and give his heart to you.
As we journey with Jesus through the wilderness and discover more of what God wants to give to us through this Lent we are reminded of the three Lenten observances: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Become attune to the voice of God and make it an essential part of your day to pray! Have a heart to heart daily with God, journal and read scripture.
Okay let's get started with our first Lenten reflection.
At once the Spirit drove him into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for 40 days being tempted by Satan. He was among wild animals, and angels were ministering to him. Now after John had been arrested, Jesus went to Galilee and proclaimed the gospel about the kingdom of God. He said, “The time is now! The kingdom of God is near! Repent, and keep believing the gospel!”
In this rather short Gospel reading we see Jesus being driven out into the wilderness where he was tempted for 40 days before he went to Galilee and began proclaiming the Kingdom of God and call the to repentance. At the beginning of this Gospel it says
..Spirit drove him into the wilderness
This is the Holy Spirit that descended on Jesus when he was baptised by John the Baptist and the voice of God could be heard from heaven saying
...This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
This Spirit which makes up the trinity is one that causes us to move, it's energy drives us. But only if we let it. In order for the holy Spirit to have this control we need to surrender it, we need to be open to receiving it, we need to ask for it.
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
When we begin to move in the Spirit we are compelled, convicted and comforted. We begin to live life from the perspective of God, responding to his inclinations and invitations all with the knowledge that he desires for us to live our lives to the fullest degree, in colour and brilliance.
Jesus is our example and shows us how to do this. Once the Spirit descended on him he began to live in a supernatural way, proclaiming the Gospel and performing miracles, showing us the heart of our Father in heaven. Jesus doesn't ask us to do anything more than what he did with the Holy Spirit and he made the Holy Spirit fully available to everyone.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
He shows us that temptations and difficult seasons will not be far from us, but that even these times in the wilderness can be used to strengthen us and glorify God.
“The time is now! The kingdom of God is near! Repent, and keep believing the gospel!”
Jesus urgently calls us, his voice still resounding, to repent. He calls us to radically turn towards him with our mind and hearts. This Lent become more attune to the voice of God and whispers in your heart. Ask for the Holy Spirit to burn within you and to give you the power to resist temptations.
And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God
But like God the Father professed his love for his Jesus, our example, so he professes his love for you so that grounded and rooted in this you may have the trust and openness of heart to receive all he wants to give you.