Lent, Part 3: Giving Up

As we saw in part two of our Lenten devotional, it is not about giving up cake or cookies for Lent that prepares us, but the giving up of sin. It’s about death to self, the flesh, and life in the Spirit. Paul tells us in Philippians 3:7-8, “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Messiah. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Messiah.” Paul tells us that our lives are not about fame or fortune or status or even our denomination in life (Philippians 3:5), but it is about knowing Messiah.

Yeshua tells us in Luke 12:15, “And He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.’” Paul goes on to tell us how we may know Yeshua: not just a knowledge of Him, but actually knowing Him. The word “knowing” in the Hebrew is a covenantal word; in other words, it is like a couple that is in a covenant married relationship. This is how we are to know our Messiah. Philippians 3:10-11 goes on to say, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Should not a time that remembers death be about death? We must walk in the footsteps of our Messiah.

Yeshua tells us in Luke 9:23, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow after Me.” Yeshua goes on and says, “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:24). Paul himself recognized that he had not totally achieved knowing Messiah, but he tells us, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Messiah Yeshua” (Philippians 3:14). You may think this to be extreme, but Paul continues to say in verse 18, “For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Messiah, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.” John tells us in 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”

We must have an ever-growing love for the Father and to do that, we must crucify our flesh daily so that we may walk with Yeshua, who is the Word made flesh, the Light of the World, leading those who will hear and obey His voice through the Word of God.

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