What are you living for?
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
We are about to embark on our Lenten journey. In 4 days, we come to church to have ashes imposed on our foreheads in an act of desire – desire for repentance, change, and victory. These desires puts us on the side of Jesus so that we live in accordance with His way and in faith that His promised victory will be fulfilled for us.
Many people don’t get it. They might ask us why we take on ashes. What’s the point of our desire? Aren’t we generally good enough, victorious enough already?
If we are honest with ourselves and with them, we state a faith in Jesus and a victory beyond the here and now. We admit that Jesus is our life; that we have complete faith in Him and in His victory. We admit that the ashes symbolize our shortcomings in not living Jesus’ way of life. We state that we want to make our lives like His. Our ashes symbolize a fact and a desire – We want to fix our lives so we live as Jesus asked us to live. Then we will find eternal happiness and victory.
If we lived only by our own desires and practices our lives would be empty. We would always be chasing after perfection in what we want, but never find what we need. We know, in the end, that our ways, our desires, our wants and needs are ultimately unfulfilling. They offer no hope beyond today (and not that much).
By aligning ourselves with Jesus’ way, in striving to be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord we conform our lives – we focus on living the right way. Living Jesus’ way brings us to eternal life which is God’s offer and promise of victory. Jesus’ victory helps us along the way and brings us to perfection even when we fall short. His love covers our failures giving victory.
In taking on ashes, in working through the season ahead, we implore God’s help to get back on track. We ask Him to help us in living for what is greater and more powerful than any temporary desire; better than anything the world can offer. We place our trust in His mercy that overcomes all weakness.
What can the world offer? The world offers more work, rules, temporary solutions, and a day’s wage. Are they enough? Where will they lead? Nowhere! With faith, and a re-commitment to Jesus we live for glory. All else will fade except happiness forever – our complete victory in Jesus.