“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 John 5:2-5.
I believe that a significant part of overcoming the world is when our faith in Jesus transforms us in a way that we are able to recognize and live for what God values. Throughout His ministry, Jesus made it clear that people were God’s most important assets, the ones to whom He attributed an eternal value, the ones in whom He focused all of His delight. Jesus affirmed this when He summed up Moses’ laws: “Love the Lord your God… and, love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27.
Perhaps you are like me and the issue is not so much whether or not I want to love others as Jesus does. Rather, the issue is that I often just go through the motions of each day without having what I call “stop-and-think moments,” and because of all the non-judicious intake from the world, I often lose perspective on what is most valuable to God—His people. As a worship leader, admittedly there have been plenty of occasions where I had to stop and think because I noticed I was loving the music, worship set, and overall “getting things done,” more than loving the people on the worship team and the people attending our church. I imagine that without really noticing, many of us find ourselves easily striving for things that distract us from our ability to meaningfully love and respect the people in our lives as well as the communities in which we live.
One aspect of Lent that I find beautiful is that this widely calendared season serves as a reminder for us, personally and corporately as the Church, to engage in reflection, particularly in regard to our struggles with sin as well as our need for the one true Savior. I feel fortunate to live in a country where even my smartphone’s calendar marks this season with a big fat “LENT begins.” For me, Lent is unavoidable, but it can bring new influence each year if I would actually stop and ask some life questions. One of the questions might be: am I doing anything that is consistently having a negative influence over my spouse, children, friends, classmates, neighbors, boss, co-workers, etc.? If so, what is it? Have I brought this concern up to God? And have I shared this with someone I trust who can provide counsel or at least hold me accountable?
Another aspect of Lent that I find fascinating is its repetitive nature, specifically in regard to what we take in and what we take out during our everyday living. Many of us are generally familiar with the “fasting” or the “giving up” ritual of Lent. Similar to how our physical expression of worship to God (or physical expression of anything, really) can influence our hearts and our lives, this repetitive act of physical disruption in our daily lives may influence both our bodies and minds to be… different. Maybe for us, this “different” is just what we need to better hear God’s voice and to be closer to His heart… and His people.
I pray that these words will encourage you to be intentional and do what it takes this season to have more “stop and think moments”, all in an effort to re-focus on loving God and loving people. Do this in the middle of your busy schedules because, let’s admit it — this world influences you each day, whether you like it or not. F. Scott Fitzgerald said it well, “Either you think, or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.”
Contributed by Dave Kim, Trinity’s Worship Arts Associate