We are all given a choice in the First Reading: life and prosperity; death and adversity. We determine the kind of life we will have, depending on the decisions we make. Moses said if we love the Lord, walk in his ways, observe his commandments, decrees and ordinances, then we will live. But if our heart turns away, and are led astray to worship other gods and serve them, then we will die. The choices then are death or life. No one makes that choice except us. The discourse ends with a choice: I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.
One thing we need to remember is God wants us to live. Which is why he commands us to choose life. God knows the only way to life is obedience to his laws. It is not because he is insecure and craves for the love of others. God is sufficient in himself. His glory does not depend on our love. But he tells us to love him because this is how we will live. God shows us how to love him: Obey him and hold fast to him. We trust in the Lord, obeying even if we do not understand why. This is why the Psalm tells us: Happy are those who hope in the Lord. When we trust in the Lord, we hope in the Lord and we will obey the Lord. This is how we have life.
Jesus also knows this and he knows it is difficult to love God. He knew his love for his Father will end in great suffering, rejection by the elders, chief priests and scribes and his death in their hands. Yet, for Jesus, there is no other way to worship his Father and serve him, than to go through this death. Which is why Jesus tells us: if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. He gives us a paradox: For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. Obedience to God, loving God requires a dying to ourselves for the sake of Jesus.
This is what Lent is. It is a dying to ourselves so we can worship and serve God. It is to realize that everything we have, our possessions, our skills, our health are nothing, compared to possessing God himself. Perhaps this Lent, we can fix our sight on the Lord, to seek him with all our heart. We ask the Lord to give us the grace to have that desire to seek him for his sake, not because he is going to give me something. But just to seek him as he is so we can know him as he is. This requires a dying to our imagination of who God is. It requires giving up what we desire, the things of this world, and desiring only God. This is a grace God will give when we ask.
Lord, I want to worship you and serve you. I want to follow you. Give me the grace to rid myself of my imagination of who you are. Instead, reveal yourself to me, so I can truly know you, the God who wants to give me life.