Lent Devotional • Day 1

Ash Wednesday (March 2)

Written by Dan Hoppen

“Die to Self—Live to Christ”

Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Ephesians 2:3-7: Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

 2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

How are we “Transformed in Christ” and shaped to be more like Him?

When you trust Jesus as your Savior, it means you receive what Jesus has done for you. He died for you. He was publicly displayed on a cross as a display of God’s judgment against sin. He was raised to life to show His sacrifice was complete. Through faith in Him and His completed sacrifice in your place, you have been reconciled with God and restored in that relationship. Your faith in Christ is one of which you in turn now lay down your life for Him. You die to yourself, specifically your old sinful nature. You confess your sin and no longer seek to live for gratifying the old sinful nature but live according to new nature. The life transformed to become more like Jesus is one where you die to self and live to Christ.

How do you see this “Truth that Transforms” working in your life?

The following is an application story written by Dan Hoppen. After you read it, ask yourself the same question. “How do I see this ‘Truth that Transforms’ working in my life?

I watch a lot less football these days than I used to. I’ve completely given up video games and don’t play intramural basketball anymore.

My lifestyle completely changed nearly three years ago on March 30, 2019, when I married my beautiful wife, Sarah. Our union has been a complete blessing to me, and we’ve developed all kinds of new habits and customs as a married couple. We got a dog and enjoy taking him for long walks. We dominate crossword puzzles together. And don’t get me started on how much fun we had binge-watching Top Chef.

But when we got married, there were some things in my life that had to “die.” I didn’t have time to continue my bachelor life while giving adequate time to my bride. Some old habits needed to be set aside to allow our marriage to grow.

To be clear, Sarah didn’t ask me to stop doing these things. I willingly sacrificed them for something better.

And I’d do it again every single time. The blessings that come from being with Sarah far outweigh those things I no longer enjoy.

And if giving up a few things for a human relationship can bring this much joy, how much more fulfilling it is to embrace your new life with Jesus!

When you commit your life to Christ, you die to self (Galatians 2:20). You have to make some serious changes to your lifestyle. And, just like marriage, your life won’t be perfect all the time. There will still be struggles.

But you’ll find your life to be more enriching, fulfilling, and blessed. Give up your “video games” and embrace the better life Christ has for you!

Now how do you see this truth that transforms working in your life? Let’s pray for that transformation in Christ.