Lent is a season where we are given the opportunity to prepare our hearts and minds to receive Christ’s sacrifice, usually though the discipline of self-denial. The goal is to come out more holy, more godly, but if you’re anything like me, the change doesn’t last, and I return to the very thing I was so committed to giving up for 40 days. If I’m really honest with myself, at some point, it stops being about putting my focus on Jesus and starts being about completing a commitment, forcing myself to keep fasting, telling myself I’ll be a better person for it.

Ed reminded us mid-January that God is pro-self improvement, but He’s going for something much deeper, transformation. That through a close connection with Jesus, and our cooperation, participation and effort, we would experience this inevitable work without conforming to a pattern or striving. His words opened a yearning in me, and Lent presented itself as an invitation to draw near.

We will be drawing near to God with our heart, mind, soul and strength (which we will call effort,) by noticing areas commonly resistant to His presence and position ourselves open and exposed to His light using various exercises and cascading habits. For the purpose of this devotional, matters of the heart will deal with desire, the mind will be common attitudes, the soul will relate to our identity and our effort will focus on specific ways we can love God but have resistance. Many of these topics will overlap and the points made be revisited from a different angle, as the Jesus Creed was simply meant to convey loving God with your whole person. This will be 40 days where we will not be trying to force or create change, or impress or please God with our sacrifice. We will simply be trusting Him and creating space for his life-changing grace.

Follow along with us here, as a new entry is posted each day, beginning Wednesday, February 14.