When it comes to Christ we all want forgiveness, grace, joy, love, hope, reconciliation, and peace. However, in order to truly observe these wonderful attributes of Christianity we must be willing to acknowledge how we had to go through darkness, addiction, sin, conflict, war, sacrifice, suffering, and brokenness. Whether it is our own doing or others are involved coming to Jesus and going through the world's trials will require sacrifice. These sacrifices will take us down a road to repentance.
When Ash Wednesday comes each year, we will find Christians flocking to their different churches in order to receive the sign of the cross on their foreheads. It is an old tradition to remind us that we came from dust and we will return to dust, but in between we give glory to God and turn to Him for everything. And that requires repentance. God has granted us salvation through His son, Jesus. When we come into that salvation we quickly find that the way we once lived falls short of what the Holy Spirit keeps turning us towards. And we will continue to fall short. And yet, Christ's sacrifice was once for all and His grace is always sufficient and...free!
And our salvation brings all the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. But we cannot truly appreciate all of this and more that God has to offer us, if we don't recognize how far He has brought us, what continues to hold us back, and accept that repentance while can be a rough path, leads to God's glory and Kingdom goodness.
So today on Ash Wednesday appreciate that we have the avenue of repentance. That we can come to our God and acknowledge our savior. That He still saves and that His Spirit continually brings us back to Jesus and to God.