Lenten Season: Depravity Meets Divinity
As Ash Wednesday approaches ushering in the Lenten Season, I am in awe of the reality warring in my soul. It is a war between the knowledge of God (Divine) and my depraved mind (Depravity). The symbols of Ash Wednesday display this reality to me. As the ashes from last year’s palms waved on Palm Sunday are shaped into a cross on my forehead, I am given pause to consider; “from dust I came and to dust I will return.” My fate of hopelessness in my depravity becomes hopeful when the cross is formed in me. The cross changes everything about my depravity.
In my depraved state, I will die in my sins. Yet, something tells me I am worthsaving. I don’t want to die. I want to live. My survival instinct is partof that knowledge of God that remains in me (Divine).
I don’t like to think about my depravity. No one else does either. We humansfind elaborate methods to cover up our depravity and avoid realizing that “fromdust we came and dust we will return.” Rather than consider the realityof our depravity, we dress ourselves up and attempt to make ourselves look betterthan we know we are. We might become philanthropists, or save the environment.We try to become wealthy and acquire as many beautiful things as we can to makeourselves feel better. We distract ourselves by pleasing others.
Paul describes the human soul in Romans 1:28,
“Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”
The ashes symbolize the reality of my depraved mind. My depraved mind is what leads me to do things that ought not to be done and even to do things that seem good but have no saving power in my life. They merely disguise my depraved mind and make me think I am better than I really am—depraved.
The Lenten season is the perfect season to come to terms with my depravity and delight in my divinity. I want to think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God. I do this when I focus on the cross and the victory Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection stir up in my soul. Because of His hard work on the cross it is possible for me to have victory over the sinful realities that exist in my soul—my depraved mind. I am depraved and there is nothing I, myself, can do about it. I need the cross. I need a Savior.
I want to celebrate the divine in me—the knowledge of God that I am God’s child. I am created in the image of God and deeply loved by Him. Retaining the knowledge of God also helps me recognize that my mind is depraved. I need God’s work of redemption to overcome the sin that lives in me.
During Lent I am called to 40 Days of repentance recognizing the depraved part of me, so that I am more fully ready to celebrate the divine reality that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection makes possible.