Today’s reading in my Lenten devotional contained this oh-so-basic but oh-so-vital truth. It is precisely relevant to the season of Lent but generally applicable to the whole pursuit of God:
The very first Scripture reading of the Lenten season is from the prophet Joel. In it, God declares “return to me with your whole heart” (2:12). The purpose of Lent is not purification and penance for their own sakes, but in order to return to God, and re-establish the relationship with Him that we once had (or to establish the relationship we are called to have).
How forgetful I can be. No act considered spiritual is to be undertaken for any motivation beneath “returning to God with one’s whole heart”, yet how easy it is to be driven by the lesser desire to “measure up” or appear impressive, to others or ourselves.
This is one of the killers of spiritual life, sold to us by religion and rebellion alike. Lent leads such ego to the gallows. And when the noose tightens, our souls will be on the verge of entering life, perhaps for the first time.
For those with music as a primary language (perhaps all of us!), Gungor’s song “We Will Run” has always struck my ears and heart as particularly powerful in this simple call. An abbreviated version is below for any who need a “Gungor orientation” this morning.