Everyone Needs Tuning
Radio with tuner
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:2 (NIV -UK)
(Hold up radio) I enjoy listening to the radio. I usually listen to it when I'm in the car driving around town. Of course, I have certain stations I like to listen to, and usually they are NOT the same ones my kids want to listen to. Imagine that! Sometimes, however, as I am listening to a particular station, it starts sounding fuzzy and static-y, making it hard to hear the music or the words that someone is saying. Let's see if we can find one of those stations right now. (Turn on radio to an already tuned station) Wow, this station is coming in REAL clear. Now let's try to find another station. (Move tuner enough to lose signal, causing static) Here's one that is very static-y. Which station would you prefer to listen to, the one that is clear or the one that is static-y? Why do we prefer the clear one? Our life and relationship with God is very much like tuning this radio to different stations. Sometimes we need "tuning" ourselves (Turn radio off).
Today is the beginning of a season called LENT. Many of us already know that Lent is a time when we give up or turn away from something that we enjoy or something that controls us, showing a sacrifice for God as we begin preparing for Easter. Does anyone here plan on giving something up during Lent? What do you plan on giving up? Very often, people tend to give up those bad habits that they enjoy, like eating too many desserts, candy, chocolate, cookies, or maybe McDonald's French fries or the morning ritual of drinking five cups of caffeinated coffee before getting into work! Some people give up activities they enjoy, like watching too much television or playing Game Cube or other video games. But you can give up other things as well. Maybe you bite your fingernails. Giving that bad habit up would certainly be a sacrifice to God! How about fighting with your brother or sister, or back-talking your parents? Are those habits that could be given up for Lent? How is giving something up during Lent making a sacrifice for God? Why is it important for us to make this sacrifice to God during the season of Lent? As we make the sacrifice of giving up something we enjoy or something that is a bad habit during Lent, we begin the process of tuning our lifestyles so we can live a clearer and cleaner life for Christ. The way we live our life is called our lifestyle, so when we improve our lifestyle by giving up a bad habit, we are "tuning" our life. God wants us to always be tuning our life by giving up those bad habits and replacing them with good habits.
As we give up something that we enjoy or something that controls us, such as a bad habit, sometimes we substitute that old bad habit with another one! For example, a friend of mine used to always keep her fingers in her mouth, sort of like sucking her thumb, but not really. Although she gave up that habit one year during Lent, as soon as she gave it up, she began fingering her long hair, twisting the ends until it pulled her hair out at her scalp, leaving several bald spots in her head..Ow! That had to hurt! She didn't realize she had "traded" one bad habit for another bad habit until someone pointed it out to her. So when you think about what you want to give up for Lent, try to trade that old habit with something good. Let's think about that for a minute. If you give up candy and sweets for Lent, what could you eat instead that would be good for you? How about if you give up television? What could you do instead of watching television that would be good for you? Rather than fighting with your brother or sister, what could you do in exchange?
So making a sacrifice to God during the Lent season not only means giving up something you enjoy or something that controls you, it also means trying to trade old, bad habits with good, healthy habits. (Turn the radio back on to the fuzzy station.) Once you've made that trade (tune the radio back to a clear station), your lifestyle will become more in tune with God.
Prayer: Dear God, As we move into the season of Lent, help each of us to tune our lives so we can know God more clearly. Help us to focus on good, healthy habits as we do away with old, bad habits. Amen.