Lent is a period of 40 days not including Sundays leading up to Easter. It is a time of self-examination, repentance, fasting and preparing for Easter. Growing up, we always gave something up for lent but were allowed have it on Sundays. Usually it was a type of food, candy, chocolate, gum, etc. I never really understood what the purpose was. As I got older, I continued to do it out of habit but still really didn’t understand the purpose behind it.
A lot of my misunderstanding stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t a believer and didn’t understand the tremendous sacrifice Christ made for us when He died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. I now understand that giving something up for Lent represents a sacrifice on our part. However, I have been challenged with that thought process by something different. A minister once challenged us to take on something rather than giving something up.
He was referring to taking on a spiritual discipline for 40 days rather than giving up something random. The reasoning behind this is at the end of Lent we are supposed to be different. We are supposed to spend the 40 days examining our lives and seeing where we need to focus on being more like Christ. Giving up chocolate for 40 days won’t bring me any closer to Christ. It will be making a sacrifice, but in the end, my relationship with the Lord would pretty much be the same.
Taking on a spiritual discipline such as praying daily, reading His Word daily or serving others would have a greater impact on my personal relationship with Jesus than merely giving up chocolate. Spending time in prayer, the Word or serving will have me focusing on my relationship with Christ and how to walk out my faith each day.
I love the idea of Lent being a season of spiritual readiness, preparing our hearts and minds for the joyous celebration of Easter. If you are growing closer to the Lord during these 40 days, each Sunday will be a time to celebrate that intimate relationship you are developing. Imagine how much sweeter Easter will be if after 40 days you know Him more, you are closer to the Lord and are allowing Him to be not only your Savior, but the Lord of your life.
Do you want to be closer to the Lord this Easter? Are you up for the challenge? Take on a spiritual discipline for the remainder of Lent and see if you are different when Easter arrives.