The Christian season of Lent begins tomorrow. How appropriate (this year) that it should start the day before Valentine’s Day. There’s a double-reminder for you!
Ideally, Lent marks a season of self-denial prompted by a heart filled with love. But it’s easy for us to lose focus.
Lent, the choice to deny ourselves in some way, provides us an opportunity to pursue God with fresh earnest and determination. Yet, while it starts with God as the object of our attention and affection, it can easily degenerate into a focus on ourselves—our needs, our desires, our prayers, our sacrifice. Perhaps this explains the reluctance that many people feel about Lent. It feels altogether too self-congratulatory and too self-indulgent (despite the great irony of such a statement).
Lent covers the next 47 days—6 days a week for 6½ weeks. Yes, Sundays are resurrection day so we do not fast on those days. The entire spiritual journey culminates with great joy on Easter Sunday (March 31).
Do you need the discipline of fasting right now? Is this a structured season that might help you pursue God afresh, in the company of millions of other Christ-followers?
If your faith feels shallow or your spiritual journey has slowed to a crawl, consider participating in Lent.
You won’t find Lent in the Bible, but it reflects the 40 days that Jesus fasted in the wilderness. We embrace it as a personal season of testing and formation. We acknowledge that the way ahead involves trial and cost, and we lean into it with confidence that the Father uses such experiences to refine us.
Ready for refining, renewing, and revival?
In a culture enamored with comfort and ease, Lent has lost some popularity. Jesus does not mandate it, so why engage in it? But our decision to release something from our lives that Christ may fill that place more fully, can serve as a significant spiritual catalyst.
This year, Lent slips in just ahead of Valentine’s Day. I wonder if we love Christ deeply enough or yearn for His Presence strongly enough that we would fast. Possibilities might include electronics, social media, video games, a favorite food, an addictive drink, television, or radio during commutes.
Let’s walk this together—because of grace—to bless Him.