Paul Blezien, a friend and mentor of mine, used to lead college students on an annual service project to the inner city of New Orleans. Their time was split between interacting with kids in afterschool programs and participating in evening evangelism on Bourbon Street.
Many of their trips coincided with the self-indulgent festivities of Mardi Gras, right at the start of Lent.
One night during Mardi Gras, while ministering with a New Orleans-based mission team, an unexpected sound filtered through the drunken mob on Jackson Square. Praise choruses. An unpretentious gathering of people in the riverfront amphitheater was lifting up the name of Jesus in the midst of the carousing. We sensed a difference in the atmosphere that year. More hope. Less chaos. Why was that? One of our new friends from the mission group reflected: “It’s because we’re winning.”
At this point in Lent, some of us may we wondering if we’re “winning.”
But we ask the question only because we can’t see the heavenly realities. We think that Lent is a struggle against flesh and blood—appetites and cravings. But there are greater realities at play.
And each moment we turn our thoughts again to Christ, a victory is won. So let’s stand firm.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—guide me through this spiritual battle. Hold me fast, as I seek to hold fast to You. For Your glory. Amen.