The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, beautifully captures the tension between our human struggles and God's unwavering love. In Romans 7:19-20, Paul laments, "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me." This passage underscores the human condition, where even our best intentions fall short, yet God's love remains steadfast. Acknowledging our imperfections during Lent does not diminish the significance of our efforts. Instead, it redirects our focus towards reliance on God's grace. Lenten practices become opportunities for spiritual growth, humility, and a deeper understanding of our need for God.
Renowned theologian N.T. Wright offers insights into this balance, noting that Lent is not about "trying to earn God's favor" but rather "about trying to live in God's way." In embracing Lenten practices, we respond to God's love with gratitude, recognizing that our salvation is a gift received through faith. As we journey through Lent, let us engage in practices that draw us closer to God while keeping in mind the liberating truth of sola fide. Fasting, prayer, and acts of charity are not transactions to earn salvation but expressions of faith and obedience. In the words of Paul and the wisdom of N.T. Wright, let Lent be a season where we humbly acknowledge our shortcomings, embrace God's unconditional love, and grow in the grace that sustains us on this transformative journey.
Dan Mickool R.Ph, M.S, Ed.D