Lent isnâ€™t about forfeiting as much as itâ€™s about formation.Â We renounce to be reborn; we let go to become â€˜little Christsâ€™. Itâ€™s about this: We break away to become.
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If the seasons of Advent and Epiphany challenge us by Godâ€™s gracious intervention in human affairs, the season of Lent prepares us for the death and resurrection of Christ.Â The transition between the seasons of Epiphany and Lent is marked by deepening realism about the cost of discipleship.Â It involves facing our temptations, knowing ourselves, having new attitudes, changing dispositions, living prayerfully â€“ all to become more Christlike.Â As a penitential season of the church, it provides for a forty day period of fasting, in imitation of Jesusâ€™ fast in the wilderness.
Fasting is any spiritual discipline of restraint we may exercise before God to live righteously.
From Letters of Faith through the Seasons â€“ James M. Houston
I’ve been surprised at the amount of resistance in my soul this year as I’ve approached the season of Lent.Â I sat with God just this morning still torn.
I don’t want to make that sacrifice.Â I don’t.
I told God that I’d give up TV instead and was immediately ashamed.Â It’s rare that I watch more than an hour of television a week and some weeks I never even turn it on.Â How is that a sacrifice?
David proclaimed: I will not offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing. (1 Chronicles 21:24)
And then I find tears filling my eyes.Â How can I be so selfish?Â In light of His sacrifice for me how can I not offer even this little thing.Â A surrender to honor Him.Â A letting go to embrace His transformation in my life.
I do want to.Â I want to honor Jesus by learning to live with greater discipline and less self-indulgence.Â Â I do.
And I don’t.
So I’ve determined to do more than just cut something out of my life this Lent.Â I’ve determined to change my attitude and face my temptations by a continual asking of God:
“If I do this…if I eat this…if I drink this right now…can I do it to the glory of God?”
I’m sure I will fail and I’m equally sure that I will succeed.Â For this question takes me to a place that is beyond willpower, beyond law and into my heart.Â And in the deepest recesses of my heart I long to surrender and I long to glorify God in all things. So I’m sure that God’s purpose will be served in this season.
But this is also a call to awareness.Â A call to not put anything in my mouth without thought.Â And I know there will be forgetful moments.Â Moments that I will need to fall on His grace.
I have a feeling I will be learning a lot this Lenten season.Â Where I am most aware of my resistance then I am also most aware of my need.
I pray that I will stay awake to my deeper desire to honor God and to be transformed into His image day by day as I journey together with the fellowship of the saints through this season of Lent.
As we His Church move together toward the cross, the ultimate sacrifice of God for His beloved, may our eyes be open and our lives be surrendered to His great love and the total transformation of our lives.