Today thousands will be relinquishing their hold on something. Some will give up a favorite food, social media or do something to help others. Giving things up is good, but it isn’t going to get you one step closer to heaven.
Lent is a time to take stock of our lives – going into the wilderness, so to speak – to repent and change our sinful ways.
As with most things in a Christian’s life, we turn to Jesus as our example. What did He give up? What was His gift to the world? He led a life of perfection – without sin – the unblemished sacrifice that God demanded. When we realize all that Jesus gave up for us, it’s impossible for us to understand how we can ever do what He did.
We try our best. We don’t cheat, steal, lie, murder or commit adultery. We eat healthy, don’t smoke or drink and follow the rules. We spend time in worship by going to church. We try to help others in need. We pray. All those things are great, but they don’t save us.
What did Jesus give up for us? He gave up His throne in heaven and went through the birthing process to become a human being. He did this so that He could live among us, see and feel exactly the same emotions we do. He lived in squalor and poverty. He never had a place to lay His head. He studied endlessly. He traveled daily to bring His message of hope to the world. He hungered and thirsted just as we do. He was tempted by the devil. He was falsely accused, beaten endlessly, spat upon, set up to ridicule, called a false prophet, and pinned to a cross. He did this so that we could inherit eternal life.
The giving up has been done and He did it. How freeing is that? He gave His life for everyone – not just those who love Him, but to the entire population – past, present and future – including you and me. This universal forgiveness is the greatest sacrifice ever. Not all will accept it, but those who do are guaranteed a room in heaven.
During this time of repentance and contemplation, talk to your children about God’s wonderful gift to humanity. They need to know that they can inherit heaven too.