To Live Outwardly…the Beliefs We Hold Inwardly — by Pastor Pam Sutherland

This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season. The ashes we received remind us of both our sinfulness and our mortality. They are an outward sign of our repentance. A pledge to God that we will live in such a way that we bring honor to the name of God and glory to Jesus Christ. They are a reminder that we must live outwardly the beliefs that we hold inwardly.

Lent is a time when we focus our attention on our heart attitudes and ask God to reveal our hidden sin, so that we may repent. We pray as the psalmist prayed:

Perhaps you are thinking, “shouldn’t this be a daily habit for Christians?” Absolutely! But all too often we try to hide our sin from ourselves. Our worries, our doubts, our grudges, our unforgiveness, our selfishness, our prejudices, our self-righteousness, all get pushed down into the far corners of our hearts and we are hardly aware that they are there. Until something happens. A situation arises, a word is spoken, and suddenly they rise to the surface and slip out of our mouths before we can stop them. But instead of asking God to forgive us and cleanse us, we shove them back down into our heart, hidden away until another occasion causes them to rear their ugly heads.

The Lenten Season asks us to spend 40 days – the Biblical time of testing and preparation – reflecting on Christ’s sacrifice for our sin, asking God to search out anything in our hearts and minds that displeases Him, and to cleanse us from all our sin. As part of this 40-day journey we fast or give up something such as a meal or a favorite pastime in order to spend that time in prayer, confession, and repentance. As our hearts are renewed day-by-day, our focus changes from “me-centered” to the needs of others, and we more clearly see how God calls us to live in the world.

I pray you will join me in this Lenten journey by allowing God to search your heart. Ask Him to cleanse you of the sin you are aware of as well as the sin you’ve hidden away. At the end of these 40 days may we more joyfully celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the grave, with the absolute assurance that we are forgiven, cleansed, and healed, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen!

May you repent and believe the Good News.

Pastor Pam

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