The season of Lent starts today. Lent is the 40 days that lead up to Good Friday, the day we recognize Jesus’ death on the cross. I’ve always looked at Lent as a very “religious” thing; something “religious” people do. I’ve been challenged to “give things up” for Lent. In the past, I’ve tried and failed to sacrifice things like soda (“pop” for the natives) and watching hockey. My heart has never really been in it.
Don’t get me wrong. Fasting—during Lent or any other time—is an important spiritual practice. Among other things, it causes us to remove obstacles that distract us from walking with Jesus. But I’m not really talking about the fasting side of Lent in this post.
What I’m realizing this year is that the original intent of Lent is about confessing, repenting and preparing our hearts in anticipation of celebrating Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s about reflecting on our depravity and understanding the weight of what Jesus did for us. So that when the day arrives for us to remember Jesus' death on the cross, and to praise Him for overcoming death through His resurrection, we are grateful.
As we start counting down the days until Easter weekend, I challenge us all to begin preparing our hearts. The first step—before we celebrate—is to take time to confess our sin and our desperate need for Jesus. The simple video below could be helpful in getting you started. Set aside a couple minutes of quiet, and echo the prayer in this video.
I challenge all of us to not let this important season in our faith pass without taking time to confess, repent, and reflect before we celebrate. Lent is like turning down the volume of everything else in our lives so we can hear the Holy Spirit.
On Easter Sunday, when we all gather together to joyously worship our Risen Savior, let it not be a halfhearted ritual. May our worship be an overflow of gratitude for what Christ did, a true recognition of our utter reliance on Him, and genuine praise for powerfully overcoming sin and death for all mankind.
There is a lot more to Lent than I described here. Below are a few posts and resources if you’re interested in learning more about Lent.
- What is Lent? (Bible Gateway)
- Why Lent Still Matters (Relevant Magazine)
- What Christians Get Wrong About Lent (Relevant Magazine)
- The Most Neglected Spiritual Discipline (Relevant Magazine)
- Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross (SheReadsTruth)
- Lent is Good Religion (Relevant Magazine)
- Lent and Fasting from the Voice in your Head (Relevant Magazine)
- Lent Devotionals: Bible Gateway | Bible.com | She Reads Truth | The Village Church (PDF)
Pastor John Schluchter