Forty days from now we who call ourselves Christians will celebrate Easter Sunday. It is seen by many as the greatest celebration of the Church. For many, Lent, is a way to follow Jesus’ example of a 40-day retreat (as He did in the desert before He began His ministry)that includes self-examination, repentance, and some type of fasting before coming to a holy celebration of Easter.
A friend shared that her pastor has suggested that their fellowship â€œlighten up for Lentâ€. He suggests a Daniel fast, daily reading of scripture, and cleaning out the closets. The fellowship is to lighten their weight, enlighten their soul, and lighten their load of material stuff to be given away. A productive Lenten season! (Note: a ‘Daniel fast’ is usually characterized by no meat, no sweets, and no carbonated drinks)
I believe the key to observing Lent is to obey what God is telling me to do. A retreat is usually very personal and is a time for me to ‘come away’ from the many distractions in my life and focus on God. It is like dialing in to the clearest frequency on a radio. No static. No distortion. In Lent, I can hear what God has discerned is the best for me and focus in on His message just for me. I have heard many find turning off the television or putting away recreational reading for the Lenten season has brought them great insight and a real spiritual ‘booster shot’.
â€œFather, I don’t ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one. They don’t belong to this world, and neither do I. Your word is the truth. So let this truth make them completely yours. I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me. I have given myself completely for their sake, so that they may belong completely to the truth.â€ John 17:15-19 (CEV)
Maybe Lent can be the start of a daily ‘habit’ of seeking God and hearing His truth. Spending time in God’s Word and in quietness to hear His voice is a good habit to grow! May Lent be a time of truth and giving myself completely to Jesus. As He set His face toward Jerusalem and was not distracted from His mission, may I also set my face toward the mission God has for me and not be distracted. To God be the glory!