Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Lenten season. Do you celebrate the season of Lent? Do you know what Lent is?
Growing up in a Baptist church, I never celebrated or even knew what Lent was until high school. A mentor of mine then explained what Lent was and the meaning and traditions of Lent. Since I’ve been introduced to it, I love this season and when taken seriously, believe that it is a wonderful time of spiritual renewal. Jeremy and I celebrate each year together, as Lent was an important part of his church in high school.
The season of Lent is a forty day period between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is a season that is reminiscent of Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness and a time for Christians to fast and prepare their hearts for Easter. When calculating the forty days of Lent, Sundays are not included because each Sunday is considered a “little Easter”, a celebration of the resurrection. It is intended to be a time for Christians to prepare themselves for the coming celebration the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It is a time to follow Jesus to the cross, and remember the sacrifice that He made for us. During the passion week, the week before Easter, I love to read through all Christ did the week prior to His crucifixion. It helps to make Easter more meaningful and focused.
Lent is a special, intentional time for Christians to become engaged in the process of spiritual renewal. “Lent is a time to increase the things of the spirit, and decrease the things of the flesh”. Traditionally, Lent is observed by fasting, often from meat. However, you can fast from anything that is distracting your attention from your spiritual needs. It could be food, coffee, a certain activity, a certain tv show, tv altogether, facebook, or something else that you feel the Lord guiding you to sacrifice during this season. Remember that in comparison to the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross, even the hardest thing for us to sacrifice is really insignificant.
So, as we begin this journey towards the passion and Easter, how can you be intentional in your walk with the Lord? I was listening to the radio and one of my favorite professors, Ben Gutierrez was preaching. He said something that made me stop and really think and repent. He said, “You can’t count on past mountaintop experiences to carry you through in your relationship with the Lord.” Do you ever do that? Do you ever count on those times with Jesus when He feels so close, so personal, so alive IN you, to carry you over to the next week or the next month, or the next retreat when you experience that mountaintop again? I don’t want to live mountaintop to mountaintop, but instead everyday experiencing the power of the Glory. I’m being intentional about the daily walk. I must be, for He is the reason that I live and the Savior of my soul. May this Lenten season be one where I refocus on being wholly devoted, drawing closer to Him.