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Defined By Impact

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Last week, I watched the movie “The Vow” because I was intrigued by the premise, which was inspired by a true story: a recently married couple is in a serious car accident, and the wife loses much of her memory. The husband struggles to help her recover and rebuild their relationship without her remembering who he is. Without giving anything away, one phrase you hear several times in the narration of the movie is, “Moments of impact like this {the accident} define who we are.”

Paul speaks of the biggest impact moment of all time in 1 Corinthians when he speaks of Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23, 2:2). Note the emphasis – Jesus was probably best remembered for His resurrection, His miracles and His teachings, but He was truly defined by His crucifixion. For without His suffering and death, the resurrection – and our salvation – would have been impossible. As Christians, we too are defined by that great impact moment, and that is the true focus and meaning of Lent.

I’ve gone through the Lent season without any paying attention to sports, which was quite hard; and without drinking coffee, which was even harder. But looking back on it, I sometimes have to ask myself, did I make these temporary sacrifices just to “prove I could do it”, or did I actually benefit from changing my routine? Was I actually spending less time glued to the TV with sports out of the picture (no pun intended) and being more productive? Did I notice the money I was saving by not getting my regular espresso drinks?

Remembering our sacrifices and the inconveniences or difficulties they caused us is not usually pleasant, but we are encouraged throughout Scripture to be inspired and motivated by the potential positive changes that can come out of exercising the disciplines they teach us. Paul, for example, constantly boasts about his sufferings, as he gains strength in Christ out of his own weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). James describes how the testing of our faith “develops perseverance… so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4).

As we remember how Jesus made the greatest sacrifice for us, we should take the time to realize just how deep this impact is. Jesus was crucified not just so we would be saved from God’s wrath and punishment from sin, but so we could actually be crucified along with Him – that the weight of the burdens we carry from sin, hardship and struggles in our own lives can be lifted and we can truly live freely and joyfully. But, like the decision to believe in Jesus and follow Him, this is not provided to us devoid of action on our part. We must choose to nail whatever is holding us back to the cross, and allow Jesus to have a greater impact on our lives. We will be redefined – in a positive way.

Lent is a journey. As we embark on it this year, I pray that it will allow us to remember or discover new impact moments in our lives that strengthen our relationships with Christ.

Daniel can be reached via email here.

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