Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent: Why I'm Observing

Lent begins today.  Lent is a time of preparation for the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Over the past few months God continues to hit me with the idea of preparation.  I’m afraid Lent is not talked about widely in some of our protestant denominations and is seen mostly as a Catholic tradition.  As a protestant, I must say, we need Lent too!   

We need to be prepared, we need times of consecration, to be set apart for the work God has for us.  Our Sunday school class is currently going through the book of Joshua, and I cannot even begin to tell you how many times this idea of preparation is woven throughout the chapters of Joshua.  The Israelites had to be prepared; God was leading them to take possession of the Promised Land.  I know God wants to do a work in me, and in the church Michael and I are at, but we must offer ourselves to the Lord for a time of preparation and consecration.

God wants to lead us to take possession of all that is ours in Christ.  This is why seasons such as Lent are so vital to our Christian life.  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Eph. 1:3  Yes, it’s time to take a step back, it’s time for a deeper commitment to prayer, to fasting, to self-reflection.  God longs to move in our hearts, our communities, and our churches.  He is waiting for us to surrender. 

At a time when I am feeling a bit unbalanced myself, I know this season of Lent is all the more important.  This Lent I want to know Jesus more.  I want to be completely utterly satisfied in Him.  I want to move on from fear and overcome strongholds.  I want to be more equipped to fight against the Enemy.  I want to be more confident in who I am in Christ.  I want to know His Word and Love like never before. 

I know God is calling me to fast, to pray, and to get into His Word with great feverency.  So this Lent I’m fasting from Television so I can regain my focus on Christ.   I know I’m not really giving up anything, but I am gaining everything.  More of Him.  Yes, more of Him.  I know the Bible tells us when we fast we are to do it in a way that does not bring attention to ourselves (Matt. 6:16). I don't share this to bring glory and honor to myself, I've done enough of that in my life, but I share it to encourage you and challenge you in your walk with Christ. I hope you can find something to give up so you can focus more on God and the plans He has for you.

Maybe you don’t know Jesus; maybe you don’t understand why I keep saying I want “more of Him.”  Friend, Jesus loves you dearly.  He lived a sinless life for you.  He died on the cross for your sins, and rose again to defeat all death and evil.  He lives, and if you would accept Him into your life, acknowledging your need for a Savior, He will forever change your heart for the good.  The love you so desperately long for, the lasting peace and joy your heart needs, it’s found in Him.  We all need a Savior.  Our Savior has come and His Name is Jesus. 


  1. Somebody asked me what Lent was and why I was giving something up on my Facebook. I don't know if you saw my reply, but I figured you might want to if you hadn't. Here it is, in full:

    Lent is a season of repentance. It is a time where Christians look at their lives and say "I am not most important." It is specifically a time to realize your own shortcomings. It is a time to try to devote yourself to matters spiritual - prayer, devotions, more bible reading, etc, etc.

    We give up things (meat on Fridays, for example, or in my case, I'm giving up red meat for the entire 6 weeks) to remind ourselves, again, that I and my desires are not the most important things in life. I am asked to suffer, slightly, to better identify myself both with those who suffer in the world I live in (during Lent, our church service ends with "Go in peace, remember the poor" instead of the more typical "Go in peace, share the good news!") and with the suffering of Christ during the time around his crucifixion.

    The ash is a reminder, a very old one, that someday I will die. As it was put on my forehead (and really, pretty much what was said when anyone had ash put on their forehead) my pastor said "You are dust, and to dust you shall return." Death is something that, living in the modern world, we tend to shelter ourselves away from. A reminder, once a year, of my own mortality is probably healthy.

    The ashes put on my head were last year's palms from palm Sunday. What we used for celebration has been turned into sorrow. And this is the way that life goes. Joy melts into sorrow. People die. We are asked to die into Christ, the Christ who meets us in our sorrows and death, as he, too, knew sorrow and death.

    And yet. There is an end to the time of our sorrow, and that is in Easter morning, where we find that love conquers death and sorrow. As we have died in Christ, we rise with him, when death and sin find themselves subjected to love.

    The Saturday night Easter Vigil service may be my favorite church service of the year, because it carries us (in what is for me a shockingly short 2.5 hours) from darkness and sorrow into light and joy.

    But to get to that light and joy and life, and truly appreciate it, we have to first work our way through darkness and sorrow and death.

    And that's Lent.

  2. To that I say, Amen! Thank you for sharing that with me Chris,
    Yes, Lent is to be a somber time of remembering our own broken humanity, around us and within us. Though there is darkness and sorrow, we have an eternal hope, which is Christ.

    Lent is good, because I'm afraid we live in such a culture were we constantly get what we want, so we need times of self-denail. It's good for us.