Tomorrow Lent begins. Drum roll……………….Will you participate this year?
Lent is like Advent. In Advent, we try to wrap our minds around God entering our world as a vulnerable baby. Wow. In Lent, we mull over this God/Man, Jesus, remaining vulnerable to death so we can enter new life.
Lent seems to have a pall thrown over it, a shadow of death and self-denial. This is true in some ways, but the death is applied to our old life, a life where everything was up to us. We had to scrap our way to God, to be significant, to be loved. Lent is a time of seeking the new life and resting in the peace Jesus bought for us. That means that as God reveals areas in our lives that need change, we rejoice that He is changing us! We fill up those empty places, those aching places with the love of Jesus. His resurrection bought more than forgiveness, it bought a healed relationship with God. This relationship is deeper than any human relationship. He loves us with an intimacy, interest and intensity unlike any other.
If you’re considering Lent, think of it as a special season of seeking God with an openness to His leading, even into change. That’s both exciting and scary, but our father’s work moves us forward, bringing out our uniqueness while removing those things that tarnish our true selves and detract from our shine.
If you’re thinking of keeping Lent out of resigned duty, don’t. You’ll get ‘hardening of the “oughteries.”* Doing things out of duty turns us into the prodigal son’s older brother, a bitter, resentful party-pooper. Keeping Lent does not earn more of your Father’s love. What greater love is there than He lay down His life for you? God will not be angry if you don’t keep Lent, because Lent is not a requirement. Jesus performed all that is required to be acceptable and to experience God’s unconditional love. You may already be in a crucible in this moment of life. In that case, Lent may not be for you this year.
If you desire, however, to appreciate Jesus anew or for the first time, then forge ahead. Ask God what intention you might give up or take up and choose it. May our LORD speak to you and show you things that have been hidden. May He help you clean out the closets in your heart and be refreshed in new rest and life.
Jude verse 24-25 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
If you’re diving into Lent. Comment below so that we can keep each other in prayer. Share your intention, if you’re comfortable.
*Hardening of the oughteries is a phrase from Dudley Hall in Grace Works.