This was the first year I’ve walked through a Lenten devotional leading up to Easter. (I read “Journey to the Cross” by Paul David Tripp.) I plan on doing one every year now (maybe the same one. It was that good.)
I didn’t really know what to expect from the Lent devotional. Would it talk about the characteristics of God and how Easter reflects them? Would it walk through the last days before Jesus’ crucifixion? Yes and yes. But most predominantly, it reflected on the sin inside man that led Jesus to the cross.
(Sidebar — It wasn’t until day 33, when my friend who was also using the devotional texted me, that I realized that Lent is technically 46 days. Typical observation of Lent skips Sundays, making it 40 days. I finished my devotional a week before Easter. So keep that in mind if you ever decide to do a Lenten devotional.)
It was a bittersweet journey through Lent for me.
Sin called out
In the bitterness, my sin was made obvious. The sin patterns I regularly dismiss or ignore could be ignored no longer. My sinful attitudes toward circumstances and other people were called out. The places where the actions in my life splintered from the faith I proclaimed were plain as day.
A couple of Tripp’s quotes on the bitter side that have stuck with me are:
- “One of the scariest, most destructive aspects of sin is its ability not only to blind us, but to blind us to our blindness.” (Day 14)
- “It is impossible to excuse, deny, or minimize your sin without telling yourself that you do not need the grace of Christ Jesus.” (Day 21)
But we aren’t left in our sin.
Covered in righteousness
In the sweetness, my Savior reigns supreme. My sin is serious, but God made a way. Jesus left His throne to live a human life and walk to His death on a cross — and He did so willingly. In His death and resurrection, He defeated sin and death and now covers me in His righteousness.
A couple of Tripp’s quotes on the sweet side that have stuck with me are:
- “Lent is not about what you will give of yourself to God, but about what He, in grace, has so bountifully given to you.” (Day 25)
- “The empty tomb stands as your guarantee of help today and gives you hope for what is to come.” (Day 40)
Living in obedience
So on this side of Easter, I have one challenge for you: Don’t forget Easter. I’m not just talking about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Don’t forget the sin that put Him on the cross. Because of Easter, we are covered. We are washed white as snow and He will present us “blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy” (Jude 24).
But sin is still rampant in our lives. We need the grace of Jesus every day. We will sin, but we must not stay in our sin. We should live in obedience to God because of God’s unfaltering, unconditional mercy and love towards us.
“The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:8-11).