Determination and Commitment During Lent
By Jody Griffin
Avery and Mitchell Counties
“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,”(Luke 9:51)
There are many lessons available to the student willing to invest time and energy in the exercise of the disciplines presented to ‘would be’ disciples of the Lord Jesus during the 40 days of Lent. Lent is the season of the Christian year (beginning Ash Wednesday and culminating on the Saturday before Easter-calculated minus the Sabbaths) wherein individuals and churches focus on the painful truths of the substitutionary atonement of all humanity through the suffering and death of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The first and perhaps most misunderstood of these disciplines is seen through the determination and commitment of Jesus to the call of God, no matter what suffering and pain He might experience.
Rare is the person today who will willfully deny themselves the usual pleasures of life. Rarer still is the human being who will sacrifice their own comforts on behalf of another. To do such would require an exceptional level of intestinal fortitude! Or to put it another way: Living determined lives and demonstrating a commitment to faithfulness to God… takes guts!
Our Lord demonstrated such for us as He began His journey to Jerusalem for the last time before He would face rejection, ridicule, and even death at the hands of those He had come to redeem. Luke records his understanding of Jesus’ obedience to God’s Will that He experiences the horrors awaiting Him by “setting His face” to go to Jerusalem. The Greek word sterizo (pronounced stay-rid’-zoh) meaning ‘to turn resolutely in a certain direction’ indicates that the two aforementioned disciplines are on display for anyone paying attention. Nothing would keep Jesus from experiencing what He most surely knew would be a level of suffering beyond anything we can imagine.
Thus, Ash Wednesday and the forty days of Lent present anyone who desires to gain new insight and motivation in living as a Christian with the challenge of practicing determination and commitment. Imagine the hope born from an incarcerated individual when reflecting upon these things. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, was determined and committed to becoming the sacrifice for all of our sins! He would suffer the cruelest form of execution to purchase our redemption!
As Chaplain, it is my joy to witness those who ‘set their faces’ turning towards the future and face rejection, ridicule, and suffering as a result of their allegiance to God in Jesus Christ! I report with great enthusiasm that some resist the temptation to just survive the days of their confinement and choose instead to thrive on the spiritual path upon which their faith has placed them! I love encouraging them to realize that they are not alone and that they have what it takes to follow Jesus. Their number might be limited, but one can literally see in their eyes above their masks that they are choosing the attributes demonstrated by their Savior in their daily walk. Granted this challenge has been even greater during the long season of COVID we have endured. But in my interactions with many I see, hear, and understand that they’ve got the guts needed to get to their destination. Do you?
Jody Griffin is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Spruce Pine and Community Funded Chaplin at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution. If you would like more information contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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