Remember when you were a kid growing up, and the days you felt like all your parents were telling you was, don’t do this! don’t do that! That’s how we feel about Lent sometimes, we feel like, oh man, what do I have to stop doing for 40 days? Why do I have to go out into the wilderness with Jesus? I’m being a good Christian already, I can’t see anything that I need to change in my life. What’s wrong with my life the way it is? I read an article a few years back that said that it takes forty days to form a (good) habit. It’s funny how God already had that covered with Lent. He’s always way ahead of us, but He’s patient, and understands that it usually takes time for us to catch on. Forty days goes by in a blink of an eye, but these forty days can last for eternity. How does the old saying go? “What we do on earth today echoes for eternity”
So when we start thinking about Lent, we should think in terms of eternity, and ask ourselves what can I do, or change about myself that will echo for eternity, in the way I would want it to. The word Lent originally meant spring season. For us in the church, its meaning is more significant. We use the meaning that comes from the Latin term quadragisima (think I spelled that right), meaning forty days or more literally the fortieth day. Our journey begins on Ash Wednesday. The ashes we receive on Ash Wednesday come from the previous years Palm Sunday. They are not a Sacrament, they are a Sacramental, but as a Sacrament the ashes are as the saying goes, “A visible sign of an invisible reality,” a sign of change and repentance for us. There are many examples of ashes being used as a sign of humility, repentance, and change, in both the Old Testament, and the New. Daniel 9:3 says “Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.” Matthew 11:21 says “Woe to you, Chora’zin! woe to you, Beth-sa’ida! for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”
O.K., we’ve established a reason to participate in Lent, now what do we do? What should our goal be? It’s pretty simple, ask yourself, what can I do that will help me fall in love with Jesus? (That may sound a little corny, but, bottom line, it’s the truth.) Because we can do this, and stop doing that, we can change this, and we can change that about ourselves, but if it doesn’t help us truly fall in love with Jesus, then its for not. Everything the church and the bible teach us is to help us do just that, FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS. That should be our first step, our first leap, toward eternal happiness.
Lent is the season for change, permanent change, not just forty days. Find something that is going to change you for the better, and most importantly, help you fall in love with Jesus. Don’t be afraid to walk out into the wilderness, your not alone. Remember when Jesus went out into the wilderness after He was baptized and was tempted by Satan in Luke 4:1-13, Jesus gave us the perfect weapon to fight Satan’s temptations, the Bible. He used scripture to refute every temptation that Satan through His way. So don’t be afraid to walk out into the wilderness, read the Bible, find what you’ve been looking for, and change. Remember this saying; “It’s impossible to love Jesus if you do not know Him, and it’s impossible to know Him and not love Him” Fall in love today, with the one who truly loves you, “Jesus.”
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