Today marks the beginning of Lent. A season of the Christian year devoted to reflection, contemplation, and a reordering of priorities. Lent is often viewed as only for a certain kind of Christian, or the time of year when devout Christians give up things in their lives they really enjoy, to prove their devotion to God. Unfortunately, these depictions of Lent are short-sided and lame.
Lent provides the space for us to reevaluate our lives both spiritually and physically. For the Christian, Lent calls us to renew our devotion to the disciplines of the faith. The daily office of prayer and meditation. The sacrificing of certain practices or activities to better focus our attention on Christ. The discipline of fasting.
Lent is a 40-day preparation for the observance of Christ’s passion and Easter. It gives us an annual opportunity to trace the history of redemption. – Michael Horton
In today’s culture, the need for balance is an ever elusive destination. The ebb and flow of a chaotic year can leave us too busy for family, and too busy for God. Or, perhaps the chaos of life has already over taken and you have resigned yourself to sadness, depression, and resentment. The gospel tells us that Christ breaks into our “out-of-balance” lives and sets things back in order. Lent is about regaining balance. Spiritually and physically.
Lent is not behavior modification… It is most fundamentally about your willingness to surrender to the God who wants to invade your heart with disruptive love, who wants to stifle your exhausting attempts to manufacture love with unfathomable grace. Lent affords you this unique opportunity, by God’s grace. The way down is the way up. Through this Lenten journey, you might find yourself hidden in Christ, and revealed ultimately in the Easter reality of God’s resurrection life, stripped of pretension and falsehood, and revealed as a humble and dependent son or daughter. – Dr. Chuck DeGroat
Instead of giving up something you secretly love, think about a better balance. Instead of diving back into the deep end of your spiritual life after not swimming for months, think about a better balance. What would happen in our daily lives if we made time to listen, without desiring any answers? This is how the season of Lent can become a refreshing time for all who come to the well that is Christ, and drink living water.
God asks us to trust him in a new way, to put aside our natural reactions, to listen humbly for a fresh word and to act on it without knowing exactly how it’s going to work out. That’s what he’s asking all of us to do this Lent. – Bishop N.T. Wright
It is my goal to post as often as I can through the season of Lent, offering some kind of resource, thought, or encouragement that helps us find a better balance in life. On this Ash Wednesday, we first come to recognize our sin and brokenness, and the reality that without the cross of Jesus Christ, we are left “dead in our trespasses.” The Hope of Easter however, lifts us up to drink deeply from the refreshing, living water of Christ.