Speaker: Tyler McKenzie
Lent: What to Expect
For the next seven weeks leading up to Easter, we’re looking back, remembering our sin that led to death.
Each week, you’ll be invited to participate in:
- Reading a devotion from one of our staff members about the work of Jesus.
- A few questions for reflection
If you commit to engaging in this season of Lent with us, it’s our prayer that you’ll approach Easter with confidence and joy, ready to worship our God who is alive.
This resource can be used for your individual growth, but we encourage you to use it in community with others. Walk through the weekly reflections with your small group, or use the reflection section for weekly accountability with a close friend.
Week Four Devotional
By Mike Mihalyov
Sometimes people suck.
I grew up in church as a pastor’s kid. When I was 7, I decided that I wanted to follow Jesus and was baptized. I was taught that God had an amazing plan for my life and “people couldn’t wait to find out what it was”.
We’ve all heard someone pray that right? So I grew up, excited to see “what God’s awesome plan was” because I was special. That’s how God made me. I was excited because I was learning all these things about God and how his people were supposed to live.
But then I noticed something. Sometimes people suck. Church people, non-church people, no one is immune.
As a kid, we moved a lot and attended different churches all over America. Baptist churches. Non-denominational churches. Christian churches. I had Catholic friends. Non-church friends. I couldn’t really tell a difference between them all. They all said they believe something. But at the end of the day,
I still saw them yell at their kids.
I still saw them fight in their marriages.
I still saw them put themselves first.
I still saw them have trouble controlling their anger.
I still saw them be selfish with their money.
I still saw them acting like they were better than other people.
And wow did this affect me.
I decided I didn’t want to be like “that” when I was older. As I grew older, I would just wait for people to let me down or show their true selves. Like it was inevitable. The very people who were supposed to be the most like Jesus continued to be the worst people to be around. Rude. Prideful. Legalistic. Apathetic. Not all of them, but a lot of them. And that hurt.
I decided that to keep myself from being like “those people” and getting hurt, I needed to have control. All the time. I would decide how my life was going to go. I would dictate the people I let get close to me.
On the surface, I was the most chill person in the world, but in my heart I wanted to control everything all the time. There was an issue with this, though. I couldn’t be in control any of the time! As I moved in to adulthood, I realized something that shook my entire world.
Sometimes I suck.
Sometimes I yell at my kids.
My marriage isn’t perfect.
I sometimes put myself first.
I sometimes have trouble controlling my anger.
I sometimes am selfish with my money.
I sometimes think I am better than other people.
I had become the very person that I didn’t want to be. And I wrestled with that and honestly still do sometimes. But I’m thankful for Grace. And for Jesus. And the freedom from the pressure to constantly be perfect. The best part? That God knows all about the worst parts of me and loves me anyway. I wake up every day and view it as a new chance to love well.
Here are some practical things I do to try to be more like Jesus:
Every Day I say OUT LOUD:
- I can’t control outcomes. I can control how I respond.
- I can’t control God. (It’s ridiculous to say out loud but we’ve all wished it, right?)
- I can’t control other people. No matter how badly I want to sometimes.
Things I FOCUS on daily:
- Loving God with everything I have.
- Trying to view the people around me the way God sees me. As imperfect and valuable.
- Trying to love other people like Jesus did.
This week, try remembering these things when you’re tempted to exert control over your life, or are overcome with angst or judgement towards “those other people” (no matter who “they” are). Take a look in the mirror and remember the truth that Jesus forgives and loves you, just as you are, and that your job is to treat others how he has graciously treated you.