Lent – Day 1
Your Journey to Joy
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight … Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” Psalm 51:2-4, 12
In a good marriage, couples often give extra attention to their relationship. They may celebrate achievements, plan for the future, or dig into painful revelations of grievances and hurts, hopefully followed by confession, repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Ash Wednesday begins the Lenten season, a period in the year when you can take time to focus on your relationship with God. During
Lent, you can share your disappointments, unfulfilled expectations and regrets with God
as you ask, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” Psalm 139:23-24
Though ash looks dirty — the remains of a destructive fire — it serves as the first step toward cleansing. In fact, traditional soaps were made from ash and fat. As you reflect on your life, aided by the various Lenten disciplines to be discussed in upcoming devotionals, you will begin identifying areas of desired change — both brokenness due to your own sin and suffering due to the fallenness of the world. This is the first step toward cleansing.
Fire burns waste and purifies gold. There will be a day when all of your works will be tested by fire. “If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” 1 Corinthians 3:14-15, NASB
As God reveals areas of rebellion or independence from His loving leadership during Lent, allow Him to burn them out of your life now. As He opens your eyes to other brokenness —unfulfilled expectations, disappointments, suffering, and regrets — ask Him to help you trust Him with these as well. Allow Him to begin cleansing you, healing you and ultimately producing in you the wonderful works He’s made you for. This salvation should bring joy — a joy that comes from experiencing the presence of God (Psalm 16:11).