A Sacrifice of Words

When February rolled around, my only ideas for Lent were ordinary — things I’ve done before.

I gave up red meat once, but my family made me promise never to do such a thing again. They were all quite tired of “Family Spaghetti Night” with runny red sauce. Where’s the beef?

I gave up caffeine for Lent too. Three years in a row. But as soon as the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection was over, I was drinking a Mountain Dew again faster than you could say, “Hallelujah!”

But this year, no inspiration came.

Well, a thought did occur to me. But I shrugged it off.

Then the same thought kept tugging at me. But it was too much. So I studied my Bible and prayed and listened — for something else.

It wouldn’t go away though. I heard His voice, not audibly, but gently calling me to sacrifice words. That’s right. Words!

I sensed God calling me to sacrifice the kind of words that seek to explain and justify. Basically, I needed to give up the desire to make sure everyone understands me, which is really the desire to control what other people think of me.

Lent is a time of preparation. And the more I have focused on the cross, the more I have realized that Jesus sacrificed His words too.

While standing before the high priest . . .

“The high priest stood up and said to Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’” (Matthew 26:62).

“But Jesus remained silent” (Matthew 26:63).

While standing before Pilate . . .

“Then Pilate asked him, ‘Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?’” (Matthew 27:13).

“But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge — to the great amazement of the governor” (Matthew 27:14).

While standing before Herod . . .

“[Herod] plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer” (Luke 23:9).

Jesus could have rebuked his accusers with the Truth. He could have called upon legions of angels to rescue Him. But He sacrificed His words instead. He gave up His right to prove them wrong. Because proving Himself right was not as important as obeying His Father’s call.

His Father had a bigger plan — bigger than personal justification, bigger than personal comfort, and bigger than personal popularity.

The Father’s plan — to offer forgiveness to the very ones who accused Him — included you and me.

Jesus sacrificed everything, including His words.

For Lent this year, I have tried to give up words — the kind that attempt image control. God said to let that go. Just obey. And let Him lead, trusting that He has a bigger plan in mind.

This sacrifice of words has taught me that being right isn’t as important as being obedient.

Have you ever given up something for Lent?
What did you learn about Christ through your practice of sacrifice?

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17 thoughts on “A Sacrifice of Words

  1. “God said to let that go. Just obey. And let Him lead, trusting that He has a bigger plan in mind.” Every time I say yes to a prompt like this, I see God move in mighty ways, and yet the very next time I think I know better than Him.

  2. This makes me think of the verse that tells of how He was like a sheep led to the slaughter, and He did not open His mouth. Yet, so often when I am oppressed and afflicted, complaining and blame and defense is usually the first pour from this fountain that should bring blessing… and not curse…

    Oh, I have so much more to learn and farther to go… I am thankful for His grace… and for your words here that convict this heart to be more like Him…

    Blessings to you, friend.

  3. Such wisdom here. But with those nudges, and finally the clear understanding of how God’s directing — how could it not be wisdom? I have just lately been learning some of this same kind of thing about words I would use to defend, justify, or explain myself, and I’ve seen it make so much more peace (not just with other people, but within myself). I’ve also realized how unnecessary those words are. In fact, certain kinds of people just try to get you going on them to stir up an argument, and make you… look bad! Ironic.

    • At the time, though, those words of self-defense *feel* so necessary. It’s amazing what we can learn about ourselves when we submit this need to self-justify to Him and let Him be our defense. And you are so right, Sylvia, there are some who seek to draw us into an argument. But that never leads to anything productive.

      May you have a blessed weekend. 🙂

  4. Wow, Denise..
    This is just awesome. I LOVE hearing how God is working on people in such different ways, but all with the same goal, and the same purpose. To love Him more deeply, and to be obedient in ALL things.

    So proud of you!

    • Mer! It’s so good to hear from you. I’ve been praying for you. I’m so glad you’re feeling better. I’ve been so inspired by the action you’ve taken this Lent. You are an inspiration, my friend! 🙂

    • Oh, Patti, you are so right! Our many words DO show our pride. It’s why I love Psalm 19:14.

      “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer.”

  5. Oh I love this. you’re really making me think.
    Lent has been different for me this year, too. Usually I would give something up only to pick it up again after Easter. This year, God showed me a few things and has asked me not to pick them up again. It’s been going well. I’ve claimed the Sabbath again and have unplugged. loving it. never thought I’d survive that one. I’ve had to change my diet some and I’ve never felt better. and there’s one more thing He’s showed me I’m still confused about and am still trying to figure out. and you might have given me a few pieces to the puzzle… I’ll let you know when it all comes together ; )
    thank you for sharing!
    all for Him,
    Nikki

    • Yes, please do let me know when it all comes together. You are such a dear sister. I love your heart.

      I am also continuing with staying “unplugged” for the weekends, especially the Sabbath, even after Lent has passed. I’ve found a restful delight in this weekly online break, and I love being online! 🙂

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