During the season of Lent we are encouraged to use the spiritual discipline of self-denial to help us in our Christian journey, but somehow in today’s society this has become more of a ‘fun’ thing than a challenge. In giving something up for Lent, we should be using the denial to draw us closer to God, not improving our lifestyle or trying to prove a point. For example, if you give up reading your newspaper, or eating chocolate etc. you could give the money you usually spend on these things to a Mission Project or some other charity. Also, you could use the time that you would have spent reading the paper or eating whatever you give up, in prayer and reading the Bible.
However, Lent just isn’t about giving something up, it can be about taking something on. You could set the alarm clock 15 minutes earlier in the morning and dedicate this extra time by spending it with the Lord. Some people may decide to attend the Mid-Week Lenten Services as a form of a pilgrimage in preparation for Easter Day. No matter if you decide to give something up or take something on for Lent, the most important thing is our relationship with the Lord Jesus. If we don’t love Him and serve Him with all our heart, body, mind, and soul, then no matter what we do during this season, we do it without real purpose.
We can learn so much from the example that Jesus gave us. For forty days and forty nights, Jesus was fasting in the wilderness. He was using this time to draw closer to God the Father. During this time he was tempted by the devil. Jesus was hungry and no doubt feeling weak after fasting for this period of time. However, even though he may have felt physically weak, he was actually spiritually strong. The devil tried to use this weakness against Jesus, but because of His total reliance on God, Jesus was able to overcome. As we read in 2nd Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you…”. This verse tells us that all we need comes directly from Jesus. We can try to fill our lives with as much of the world as we want, but real contentment only comes with filling our lives with the things of God. You can read the account of Jesus fasting and being tempted in Matthew chapter 4.
Let me encourage you to join with me in making this season of Lent a pilgrimage which will help us grow closer in our relationship with Jesus.