Lenten Discipline, or Lack Thereof

One of my goals for lent was to be more disciplined – particularly in my reading of scripture, in my housework and in my writing. So far, I have failed on all three counts.

I could blame all the unexpected things that have crept up, or my chronic insomnia being particularly bad lately, but there isn’t much point.

Lent is about failure. Lent is about falling short. But lent is also about getting back up and trying again. As sinful creatures, we are limited and lack the ability to remain faithful. Still, we strive for faithfulness. We don’t strive because we can, we strive because we ought.

We remember our savior, Jesus Christ, who made himself man, and showed us the way to follow God, in perfect obedience. And we are called to walk in his way. When we fail, we confess our sin, and we keep pressing on.

In these forty days, we remind ourselves of our state as reconciled to God, but still struggling with sin. We practice mourning our sin and longing for righteousness, but we know that even as we experience the struggle to fight temptation, our victory has already been won. We see Easter on the horizon.

Lent shows us our sin more clearly, and that’s not always easy. My default response to the guilt sin brings is paralysis: I withdraw. I’m praying this lent to stay engaged in the fight, to try again.

Instead of focusing on yesterday’s failures, I will rejoice in the new opportunities to practice discipline today. I will try knowing that my work is not in vain, and incremental steps towards faithfulness are significant, in their own way. Because I long to be more like Jesus. And even if I won’t stop struggling with sin, God is making me new. And he graciously invites me to be a part of that.

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