Claire and I have never been big on celebrating Valentine’s Day in our 41 years of marriage. Over time, the whole hoopla of the day kind of soured us and, as corny or cliché as it might seem, we decided that we would instead seek to have every day be Valentine’s Day. We would seek to treat each other with kindness, love and respect each and every day instead of just one. I realize that is a huge oversimplification but it is something we have tried to do through all those years. We do try to celebrate our wedding anniversary but the “imposed” love day is something we have pretty much chosen to ignore.
I think the same principle applies to our relationship with God as well. I love the major church holidays for they are indeed very special. It’s good to remember in a very specific way how God came to us at Christmas and how Jesus died and rose again during Lent and on Easter. But if that is all there is, we are missing out.
Our lives with God are lived not just for the special days but each and every day. Every day we should be seeking to express our love and gratitude to God for what he has done for us in Christ. And we express it in how we live our lives and how we treat others and seek his kingdom values in this world. The Christian life cannot be just an occasional special day; it’s an everyday life.
This month we begin the season of Lent. For some of our brothers and sisters in Christ, this is a time of giving things up. So some give up Facebook or eating sugar or coarse language and the like. Those are all noble and noteworthy things but we must constantly be giving up our lives for the one who gave His life for us. So let’s remember in a very special way God’s gift to us in Jesus. But let’s each and every day, give up ourselves for our Lord.
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul writes: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” A sacrifice isn’t something we do occasionally. It’s something we do daily. In fact, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
So we celebrate Lent this year but let’s see this only as a beginning of daily focusing not only on Jesus’ cross but our own as well as we sacrifice our lives for our Lord.