The Season of Lent is fast approaching. Many churches, including the one I serve, will be holding services on the evening of Wednesday the 22nd. There, the people will hear of Christ’s entry into the desert, where he fasted for 40 days and was put through many trials, notably three by the devil himself.
Lent is a time of great reflection. Reflection (sometimes called Recollection) is a lost means of grace in today’s church. We fail to take the time to look back over our life, our day, our moments, and see where God’s grace was speaking or guiding us. We fail to see the places where we could have gone right but instead we went ‘wrong’. We just simply do NOT spend enough time looking into the mirror. And that is exactly what Lent is all about.
We have before us an opportunity, if we’ll take it, to examine ourselves. We can do what Jesus said in Luke 6 when he said…
Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.
How are we to make such changes unless we look to ourselves, to our lives and habits? There needs to be a time (lots of times, actually) when we take to the solitude of a bedroom, a car ride, a porch, a sanctuary, or a vacation (etc, etc) and look at the state and health of our own souls so that we know where we stand in our response to God’s great gift of grace. Grace is given freely but it requires application. God will not live your life for you, but he will live it in you if you work together with the Holy Spirit to chase after the life of Jesus.
Lent is the perfect time to do this. Go into the desert of your heart and face the trials that exist there. It may be very fitting that Lent and Easter occur as Spring is springing to life. Winter is fading and new life is rolling back the stone that winter placed over the tomb of the seasons.
So, as Lent comes next week, will you fast from something in your life, making space for God to speak? Will you add something to your life, taking on new disciplines and life–giving strategies to become a closer follower of Jesus? Will you reflect and recollect, looking into the mirror of your soul and sorting through the boxes for a spiritual “Spring Cleaning”?
I hope you’ll attend a church with an Ash Wednesday service. Let the ashes of repentance be a symbol for you next week of giving up the old self and taking on the new. God bless you this weekend and be safe.