I don’t think of myself as a disciplined person. Most of us don’t. That’s why we need Lent. It is a set aside time that allows us to focus. As we follow Jesus’ ministry in Scripture each week, we have a model for a human life well-lived and it inspires us to be better.
The Hebrew letter this week, kaf, begins the Hebrew word kavana, meaning intentionality, willpower, and single-mindedness. I am loving how the Hebrew letters are lining up with where we are in the life of the church – as if somebody planned it that way. Kaf is a good letter for the middle of Lent.
My sermon this week began with a story of a friend who grew up with Attention Deficit Disorder. She described what it was like to feel the effects of medication by saying that it was as if she has spent her whole life in a room with rows and rows of TV’s, all blaring a different station, then suddenly, someone had come in and turned all the TV’s off except the one she was supposed to be watching. Amazing. In the same way, Lent is a time to “turn off the TV’s,” to remove distractions, and focus so that we can encounter God.
Our readings for the week came from the third chapter of John, in which Nicodemus asks Jesus to share the secret to eternal life, and the book of Numbers, which shares the story of God giving His people power over poisonous snakes. In both cases, the call is to set aside everything and trust God, focusing on the fact that God has conquered all powers that seek to destroy us – snakes, and even death itself.
How are you doing on being disciplined this Lent? Many of us have memorized John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have life eternal,” but remember the next verse, John 3:17: “God did not send his son to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” If you’ve lost some focus, resist the urge to beat yourself up. Recommit yourself this week to being focused and exercising your willpower.