Throughout this season of Lent I’ve been trying to ready myself for Easter joy by praying, fasting, and listening to God. Today I will share the biggest repentance trigger of my Bible readings this Lent. Does this speak to you as loud as it did for me?
Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.” Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?”
When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”
He then left them a second time. Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.” When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open. This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time. When he came back the next time, he said, “Are you going to sleep on and make a night of it? My time is up, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s get going! My betrayer is here.” (Matthew 26:36-46, MSG)
Jesus tells me: “There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God.” This sounds good. This is who I want to be. But Jesus does not stop there. He continues: “But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” Touché. Busted. Guilty as charged. Lord, have mercy!
I’ve been praying that God would forgive my laziness. That God would show me how to get through repentance to alert readiness. I’ve come to understand that come Good Friday all my laziness and everything that keeps me from being fully ready for God needs to be crucified with Jesus. So that come Easter morning I will be resurrected with Jesus into fully being alive in Christ and into true alertness and readiness for God.
You know, too often we -even if we know better- repent only the things we’ve done wrong without any desire to grow in grace. There are so many hidden, invisible things that hinder us from truly living for Jesus. Sure, we are still works in progress. Our sanctification is not complete yet. But we should not be satisfied with any form of spiritual laziness. We should not be satisfied in snoring when God is inviting us to be alert in prayer. We should not be satisfied in ‘same old, same old’ when God is calling us into new adventures. God adores answering our prayers for showing us what needs to go, how to sharpen our alertness for God.
If we allow the Holy Fire will burn everything in us that hinders the total readiness for God. Because in order to experience the wild grace we need to repent our trespasses. Because God is more than a sentiment and Easter is more than chocolate eggs.
If we allow we will be crucified with Jesus this Good Friday. Because in order to experience the Easter joy we need to die to ourselves. Because God is more than a mere religion and Easter is more than a family gathering.
If we allow we will be resurrected into new life this Easter. In order to experience the real power of resurrection we need to cling to Christ Jesus. Because God is more than a dogma and Easter is more than a festive occasion.
Are you ready?
Forgive us our sins, visible and invisible.
Forgive us our spiritual laziness.
Forgive us our selfishness.
Get rid of everything that hinders our readiness for you.
Burn every trace of spiritual laziness in us.
May your wild grace make a clean sweep in our souls!
We surrender to you.
Create in us a new heart,
fully alert to you.
Resurrect us with Jesus,
to be alive in you!
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: How are you preparing for Easter?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you move through repentance to readiness for God!
Picture courtesy of Visual Bible Alive Resource Center