Heavenly Father, today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent- the season approaching Your priceless gift of Jesus’ death and resurrection for our eternal salvation. For years, I didn’t know what Ash Wednesday or Lent were since the church I grew up in didn’t always observe these traditions. I am all for anything that helps us realize who You are, Father…and who we are. Ash Wednesday was established to help us realize and admit we have sinned against You, Lord. That is true. Those who observe Ash Wednesday, have ashes placed on their foreheads often in the shape of a cross with a spoken reminder that our bodies will return to dust. That is also true. Yet, as I was contemplating what to give up for Lent this year, You placed “enjoy” on my heart. What a surprise!
Realizing I am a sinner and giving up something I really like usually doesn’t immediately spell enjoyment! But as I think about who You are, Lord, and all You do for me, I am humbled as I think of the ways I have disappointed You, not trusted You, rebelled against You, ignored You, argued with You, been prideful in front of You- in all Your majestic glory! Oh yes! I have sinned against You. Yet, I know that as soon as I ask, because of Jesus, I am forgiven. I also fully understand that my body will return to dust. I have buried far too many loved ones to not realize how real that truth is. So where does enjoyment come in?
The surprise for me came this morning when You pointed out that I was created for Your enjoyment! I wondered how I could possibly bring You enjoyment… I thought of my children and grandchildren, and though they made mistakes and might have rebelled against me, I enjoy who they are, who I know they are becoming. Their feeble young attempts to show me love in their limited way and watching them grow and mature has brought me immense enjoyment in my life!
Then You placed on my heart that I need to enjoy You! I can only truly enjoy Your very real presence in my soul when I confess and turn from my sin; when I realize I cannot be holy enough to dwell with You without my Savior Jesus to completely do away with my sin. It is done! I also realize I still need to cut out things that want to sneak in and take priority in my life. How can I truly enjoy You, Lord, when I am focused on other things? So yes, I am ready to admit I need Jesus, and I will give up things which threaten to come between us. But I will fill those areas that are taken away with the rich enjoyment of Your presence that I can savor for all eternity long after this body has turned to dust! You enjoy me so I can enjoy You! Sounds like love!
This prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 61:1-2 is how much the Lord enjoys us and the only way we can truly enjoy Him:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4
Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, How can I bring you enjoyment….