This is part of a syndicated series for Lent 2019 with Harvard’s Christian Journal Ichthus. Visit Ichthus at http://www.harvardichthus.org
By Titilayo Mabogunje, Grace Hopper ’20
I got an email the other day with a subject line declaring, “It’s all about you!” In a time when I struggle with feelings of inadequacy as I realize more and more how incapable I am as a single individual to make a huge impact on world, this message brought much more discomfort that comfort. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying it’s bad to be proud of what you’ve accomplished or that anyone is too small to make a difference, but I just found that subject line ironic as I think that life would be rather miserable if the only thing that mattered was me and if my success was dependent solely on what I could do. Luckily, this time of lent – a season of preparation and reflection on the impact of Christ’s death and resurrection – presents an opposite message.
Easter is arguably the most important event on a Christian calendar. If Christ had not died and rose again, there would be no hope the removal of our sin which creates a chasm between God and us and no hope for ever being eternally united with Him in heaven. However, in a culture where there is so much emphasis on what “I” can do and how “I” should control my time and how “I” need to look out for my best interest, the gospel message seems extremely radical. It says it’s not about what “I” can do; it’s not about or how awesome “I” am; it’s not even about how sinful “I” am. Rather, it’s all about what God has done and who He is. It’s not about me doing something great or being perfect before Christ can use me or call me His own, but rather, I have already been welcomed into His kingdom and am simply asked to live up to the calling I have already received (Ephesians 4:1).
I like using lent to reflect on the impact Christ’s sacrifice has on the world. For me, that looks like thinking why such a sacrifice had to be made. Despite what my inbox, my social media news feeds, and society in general tell me, I am powerless without God and whatever I try to do on my own will not last. After all, “unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labour in vain” (Psalm 127:1, NIV). I have to return to Him and stop trying to do my will and stop relying on my strength to do His will – both those things are futile. I must re-lent of self-reliance and re-member myself with Christ, acknowledging that it is only when I am in Him that I am truly living up to my full potential.
In these 40 days before Easter, I invite all reading this to spend some time reflecting on what it means for you that Christ died and rose again. If you are not a believer and are curious why there is so much excitement about this “Jesus Christ person,” think about what would be different in your life if there truly was a God above who loves you completely and who frees you both from the pressure of success and the pressure of failure because it is not about what you have done, but about what He has already finished doing.
As for me, I will rejoice in the Lord. I truly can’t put into words how grateful I am that it’s not all about me.