We’re in the home stretch of Lent.
Easter is less than two weeks away. And if you’re anything like me, then maybe you’ve slipped up a time or two – or twenty – on what you’ve “given up” for Lent.
So these last two weeks are the final push – the home stretch where you give it all you’ve got.
Every year during Lent, I try to watch The Passion of the Christ. And if you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest watching. Yes, it is difficult to watch at times. Yes, it is emotionally exhausting. Yes, it is long, and you will need to wear waterproof mascara, but trust me when I say, it will make you see your personal relationship with Jesus in an entirely new light. And make your faith come alive in such a personal, moving way.
And sidenote: Jim Caviezel did an amazing job portraying Jesus. And if you’ve never heard his personal testimony about his faith and what he went through to execute that role, I would highly suggest listening to his testimony on YouTube.
But one of the things that I take away from the movie, after witnessing the excruciating suffering He endured – the torture, the mockery and humiliation, the physical abuse – was how extreme His love is for me.
Jesus took all of that, and atop Calvary, publicly stood up for me.
It was a public declaration of love. Defending my salvation – taking the nails literally, so I could be free and get to Heaven.
It is almost too much to comprehend.
One of the things about this time we’re living in, is how private people are about their faith.
We’ve become a society where people are no longer are “faithful,” but spiritual. God is now “The Universe.” Brunch has replaced church. And as a natural progression, any faith we do have left, has been hidden away into the privacy of our minds and homes, for fear of being seen as “weird,” “antiquated,” “close minded” or worse…”religious.”
I hate to admit it, but sometimes, when celebrities or people throw out the vanilla “My thoughts and prayers are with [insert tragedy victim]…” I know it’s horrible, but I sometimes will literally think with pleasant surprise…”Oh, you pray??”
We have put any inkling of faith left into a little bubble that no one sees, no one talks about, and no one demonstrates, other than a banal tweet that lost its sincerity years ago.
We are a people of privacy.
And I’m guilty of this too. I saw a friend at the grocery story the other day, and I told him I had just come from church, and I felt as though I had just admitted to still listening to Nickelback or something.
We’re afraid to share what should be the most important part of our lives.
One of the comments I get a lot is how people are so surprised that I can share my faith so openly on my blog.
And honestly, I feel pretty convicted or even – phony – hearing that. Because there’s so much more I could be doing. And frankly, it’s a lot easier for me to write about on the Internet than in real life, but I am really trying to work on that.
But why do I write about my faith?
It all goes back to The Passion.
Jesus defended me.Now, it is my turn to defend Jesus.
If Jesus would have practiced our pathetic “2018 Christianity” and kept His faith private for fear of coming off as “religious“…then the crucifixion would have never happened. He would have never ruffled any feathers or caused a stir…Salvation as we know it would not be a thing. Because what He did was a public declaration of FAITH. Of TRUTH. Of love.
Jesus was not ashamed or embarrassed to show His love and defend me and my shortcoming and sins through a public display of action that literally landed Him on top of a hill for the entire world to see. The least I can do is to share that with others.
The least I can do is live a life in gratitude for that gift, and try to live a life that points to Him.
Watching The Passion this year with that new perspective, I felt completely convicted. Because it all boils down to one question: Do I believe this? And if that answer is yes, then what am I going to do about it.
I could be doing so much more. There’s such a need for His love out there in the world. And not just the world – but in our own backyards. In our communities, friend groups, families – in our own hearts!
Lent is our time to reflect on His public declaration. And question how we are living in response to that sacrifice.
So in these last two weeks, I’m really going to try to remember as I go through my day, the fact that Jesus stood up for me. He stood up for me all the way to the Cross. The least I can do is stand up for Him.
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