LENT

 

a devotional guide

 

Humility from Billy Graham

 

  • Routinely confess your sin to God (Luke 18:9-14). All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God. However, too few of us have a routine practice of rigorous self-honesty examination. Weekly, even daily, review of our hearts and behaviors, coupled with confession to God, is an essential practice of humility.
  • Acknowledge your sin to others (James 3:2, James 5:16). Humility before God is not complete unless there is also humility before man. A true test of our willingness to humble ourselves is willingness to share with others the weaknesses we confess to God. Wisdom, however, dictates that we do so with others that we trust.
  • Take wrong patiently (1 Peter 3:8-17). When something is unjust we want to react and rectify it. However, patiently responding to the unjust accusations and actions of others demonstrates our strength of godly character and provides an opportunity to put on humility.
  • Actively submit to authority…the good and the bad (1 Peter 2:18). Our culture does not value submission; rather it promotes individualism. How purposely and actively do you work on submission to those whom God has placed as authorities in your life? Doing so is a good way to humble yourself.
  • Receive correction and feedback from others graciously (Proverbs 10:17, 12:1). In the Phoenix area, a local East valley pastor was noted for graciously receiving any negative feedback or correction offered. He would simply say “thank you for caring enough to share that with me, I will pray about it and get back to you.” Look for the kernel of truth in what people offer you, even if it comes from a dubious source. Always pray, “Lord, what are you trying to show me through this?”
  • Accept a lowly place (Proverbs 25:6,7). If you find yourself wanting to sit at the head table, wanting others to recognize your contribution or become offended when others are honored or chosen, then pride is present. Purpose to support others being recognized, rather than you. Accept and look for the lowly place; it is the place of humility.
  • Purposely associate with people of lower state than you (Luke 7:36-39). Jesus was derided by the Pharisees for socializing with the poor and those of lowly state. Our culture is very status conscious and people naturally want to socialize upward. Resist the temptation of being partial to those with status or wealth.
  • Choose to serve others (Philippians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 4:5, Matthew 23:11). When we serve others, we are serving God’s purposes in their lives. Doing so reduces our focus on ourselves and builds the Kingdom of God. When serving another costs us nothing, we should question whether it is really servanthood
  • Be quick to forgive (Matthew 18: 21-35). Forgiveness is possibly one of the greatest acts of humility we can do. To forgive is to acknowledge a wrong that has been done us and also to further release our right of repayment for the wrong. Forgiveness is denial of self. Forgiveness is not insisting on our way and our justice.
  • Cultivate a grateful heart (1 Thessalonians 5:18). The more we develop an attitude of gratitude for the gift of salvation and life He has given us, the more true our perspective of self. A grateful heart is a humble heart.
  • Purpose to speak well of others (Ephesians 4:31-32). Saying negative things about others puts them “one down” and us “one up.” Speaking well of others edifies them and builds them up. Make sure, however, that what you say is not intended as flattery.
  • Treat pride as a condition that always necessitates embracing the cross (Luke 9:23). It is our nature to be proud and it is God’s nature in us that brings humility. Committing to a lifestyle of daily dying to ourselves and living through Him is the foundation for true humility.

 

Lent Week 1 | February 18th – 24th

Lent Week 1 | February 18th – 24th

In the presence of the

Son of Man,

John the Baptist humbles himself.

Reflection

At the close of the American Revolutionary War, King George III said that if George Washington lays down his power as the Commander and General and establishes a real Democracy, “he will be the greatest man in the world.”  King George was playing off what he knows to be true, deep in the heart of all men and women, they seek recognition and power.

As we read Mark 1:9-15, we should not pass quickly over the moment where Jesus approaches John the Baptist and asks to be Baptized. John was well established as a prophet, he had many followers, and so his response, kneeling down, is against his flesh and against his need to be in power.  John kneels down and humbles himself before the Son of Man.

Submission is an invitation to leadership, and it is a significant theme running throughout the scriptures. We see it in David repenting before God for his sins, in the Prophets willingness to give up their reputation to proclaim God’s word, and of course here in John’s actions.  The desire to submit yourself to another is born of humility.

When we resist submission, it is out of stubbornness and pride. The New Testament paints a beautiful picture of a church where each member is submitted to the other under the headship of Christ. The question we ask as a follower of Jesus is not what is my way, or my opinion, but we submit ourselves to the father and discern together, what is His desire?

Discussion

  • How have you seen someone be like John the Baptist, preparing the way for Jesus’ ministry?
  • How have you been like the Pharisees, pretending to do the work of God but really commanding attention to yourself?
  • What does this passage teach you about God?
  • What does it teach you about yourself?
  • How can your Missional Community prepare the way for the work and ministry of Jesus?

Prayer

God of grace and glory,

you call us with your voice of flame

to be your people, faithful and courageous.

As your beloved Son

embraced his mission in the waters of baptism,

inspire us with the fire of your Spirit

to join in his transforming work.

We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Praxis

Spend some time this week praying for God to soften your heart towards his work in your life this Lenten season. Write ways in which you want to grow in your relationship with God during Lent in your journal.

Wake up an hour earlier than you normally do every day this week. Spend that hour praying and meditating on Scripture, preparing the way for the work of Jesus in your day.

Is there a way you could serve the least of these in our church or in our city? How can you invite accountability in as you humble yourself in service to others?

Lectionary readings for this week: Genesis 9:8-17, Psalm 25:1-10, 1 Peter 3:18-22

Going Deeper

Often, we sin against others and against God because of an inability to or an unwillingness to humble ourselves. In his book, Enemies of the Heart, Andy Stanley takes a look at how this destructive force can make its way into our lives and how the gospel of Jesus Christ can free us from it.

About Lent

About Lent

The season of Lent finds its roots in the early 2nd-century church. The Lenten season is 40 days in which the church reflects on the life and death of Jesus. The 40 days of Lent reflect the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13).

As the Park Community Church, we are walking through the Lectionary, reflecting on how the world was changed by the presence of Jesus. Jesus healed people, cast out demons and performed miracles. He also pointed out the sin and the idols in people’s lives. He is doing the same even today.

While we walk through this season of Lent, let us be quick to confess our sins and our shortcomings. Let us pray more. Let us read the Word of God more. Let us mourn our brokenness and sinful nature, for which Jesus died on a cross. But let us hold fast to the truth that He has defeated death through his resurrection.

All of Lent points toward Easter Sunday, in which we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death. This Lenten journey is one of sacrifice and sober-mindedness, but it is also one of certainty and joy. We worship a God who is victorious.

As we meditate on the things of God, we practice cruciform living in the context of a church that is family. We forgo our own personal comforts to seek the love and edification of the church. In this guide and its online components, you will find devotionals, prayers, practices, challenges, and supplements for your personal time with the Lord.

We pray this season draws us into a closer walk with the Father. We pray that the Spirit moves to grow us in our passion for God, in compassion for others and in our wisdom in everyday decisions. We pray that we can experience the presence of the Son. We pray that the kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.