Many of you probably heard by now that today is the start of Lent. Even though Lent has not been observed very much by Christ-followers, there seems to be a growing number of people who are seeing the benefits of it and are now practicing it.
The Lenten season (six-weeks before Easter) is a time for Christ-followers to dedicate ourselves to a deeper walk with Christ through spiritual disciplines and personal reflection. Traditionally, Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and extends for 40 days (excluding Sundays) to Easter.
It is my hope that in this Lenten season that our passion for Christ will increase as we focus in on the cross of Jesus Christ and help prepare us for the Passion Week with the Good Friday service and Easter Celebration.
There are 5 things that should occur during this time:
2) REPENTANCE – In the Lenten season, self-examination is crucial. As we reflect on the cross, it should expose our pride, our self-sufficiency, and our disobedience.
3) READINESS – This season is intentionally set aside for examination, repentance, and prayer for Christ-followers, as we prepare to observe and celebrate Passion Week.
4) RESOLUTION – One key component of Lent is to practice the spiritual discipline of fasting. We should make a resolution to fast from something that will help us to focus on the sacrifice that Christ made for us.
5) RENEWAL – Lent is also a time of spiritual renewal and growth. It is a time for us to renew our passion and our first love for Christ, as we set ourselves apart for growth and holiness.
I just wanted to make some comments regarding the spiritual discipline of fasting for this Lenten season. I understand that this can become legalistic and rather than helping our church, it can cause unnecessary strife. We have to remember that something becomes legalistic if we make something “man-centered” rather than “Christ-centered.” As we observe Lent, it is not suppose to feed our self-righteousness. Rather it should cause us to be more humble and grateful because of what Christ has done for us.
Also, as we think about what we are planning on fasting from I just wanted to encourage us to think about the word, “interrupt.” According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word, “interrupt” is defined as, “to break the continuity or uniformity of; to hinder or stop the action or discourse of (someone) by breaking in on; to break in on an action or discourse.”
God placed this word “interrupt” as I was thinking about Lent. I realized that the effectiveness of fasting during Lent is the ability of “interrupting” our lives. The reason why this is important is that it will cause us to pause more and think about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. So often we fast from things that do not really interrupt our lives, but this Lenten season I have challenged many people to fast from something that will bring interruption to the normal flow of life.
Along that note, we have to remember that whatever we fast from that it should be something we can go back to with a clear conscience. The reason why I say this is in the past I have heard that some people fasted from swearing! HA! Uh, hopefully even after Lent you will STILL be able to stop swearing. It is like someone saying that for Lent they will stop lying. You get the picture. I pray whatever people decide to fast from it will help them to pray and draw closer to Christ.
We are looking forward to an awesome Passion Week and Easter Celebration. May these 40 days cause us to grow more in love with Christ and be in amazement of His grace.