Last week I had a meeting with one of our deacons aspiring to become an ordained a priest this May. We talked about the service and all of its components such as who the preacher would be and other essentials for such an occasion. After this discussion we migrated to a conversation regarding the deacon’s former vocation as an F-16 pilot, and a trainer of pilots – a job she left behind to begin the ordination process.
During our chat the topic of “g-force” came up, one that I know very little about. Other than the scene from the movie, “Spies Like Us,” I had really never understood much about such phenomena until she explained it. From what I now understand the g-force has to do with the vector acceleration against the force of gravity. This acceleration can cause all sorts of interesting things to happen to the human body one of which is stopping the heart. This obviously reduces the flow of blood to the rest of the body. Lack of blood flow to the brain causes a black out! That’s where trouble begins as you can well imagine.
Now what does this have to do with Lent? Well it turns out that the way you prevent the heart from stopping is to push against the g-force. The act of pushing against this force causes the heart to pump thereby causing the blood to flow freely and allowing the individual to function normally. However, it is completely counterintuitive to push against the force. Our natural reaction is to succumb to such force, which leads to our own peril.
So it is with sin and temptation. Our natural tendency is to yield to the temptation of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and in doing so we are led to act in sin. We can see this truth realized in countless acts of violence plaguing our world today, addictive behavior of all sorts, and other insidious actions in our day-to-day lives. Instead of pushing against these forces we submit and our lives are adversely affected.
Lent affords us the opportunity to push against these temptations to overcome those things that separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Through corporate fasting and prayer, performing good deeds, caring for those marginalized by our society, and intentionally living the lives God calls us to live, indeed wills us to live, we can push against those things and experience life more abundantly.
Just as pushing against the g-force is a learned response, so is pushing against the world, the flesh, and the devil. We must be intentional about living lives that are “holy and acceptable to God!” Choose this Lent to be your time to lean into God’s grace and love and push against those things in your world that separate you from him.