After indulging in sin, I can find it hard to face God. You can probably relate. But I find that our tendency to avoid Him actually permeates a lot of life for more of us than we’d like to admit. God desires something better for us, and Lent invites us into it. But the way is dangerous.
It seems our unconscious methods for avoiding God’s face are endless. Have you considered what ways you may subtly or not-so-subtly try to dodge His face? For example, do you…
- Keep yourself busy?
- Make sure you always have music playing?
- Take what little margin you have and turn to your screens, or use it to “catch up” on other things?
- Habitually watch porn?
- Occupy your thoughts with worry?
- Not go to church?
- Play church critic by finding fault with the worship, sermon, or other church goers?
- Sleep a lot?
- Consider your sin as only a psychological issue, rather than facing that you have done evil?
- Blame God or someone else for your choices?
- Occupy your prayers with what you ought to say without facing the thing you don’t want to talk about?
- Play the helper for everyone else?
I’ve done all these and more. It seems avoiding God has been on an impulse of human beings since Adam and Eve opened the door to sin in the world and we found ourselves uncovered and naked. Dallas Willard writes:
“The intelligent person recognizes that his or her well-being lies in being in harmony with God.…God is not mean, but he is dangerous. It is the same with other great forces he has placed in reality. Electricity and nuclear power, for example, are not mean, but they are dangerous. One who does not, in a certain sense, ‘worry’ about God, simply isn’t smart.”
Lent invites us to repentance, beginning with repentance from the many ways we avoid God’s face by turning to other things.
Fasting from even normal things that occupy our hearts, minds, and schedules is one way to create space to stand before God face-to-face. As we do, it is likely we will encounter some of the ugliest things in us, including things we wish weren’t there at all.
The alternative is to continue to speed away from God while harboring evil, in which case we put ourselves in danger. The purpose of facing God, however, may feel like death but it will ultimately only serve as death to these things—or at least their transformation.
We face danger either way. The choice is ours.
Leave a comment below: What are the ways you see you have or do try to avoid God’s face? What can you do during Lent to make room to face Him?
 Dallas Willard. Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ (NavPress: Colorado Springs, 2002), 51.
Make sure to check out the latest Becoming Whole Podcast for more in depth discussion on the above topic. Your Invitation this Lent
Thank you for sharing these excerpts so faithfully, Josh. It’s cutting and healing me towards a greater love with every read. Appreciate you, brother.