Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lent: Making a Bold Move Towards God

Every day I could find something in my life that I wish I was doing more of or less of. Yesterday afternoon, I wish I had done my awesome new Christian yoga DVD instead of clean the bathrooms. Last night, I wish I had read instead of watch mindless TV. It takes a whole lot of discipline and prayer to do exactly what we (God and us) want and should do on a daily basis. We can’t beat ourselves up for not making the best decisions but we should always be aware of any area of our lives that pull us away from God.

To me, the season of lent is a time when I force myself to make a bold move in the right direction. It’s a time when I reflect on the things in my life that I feel are getting in the way of my relationship with God and then actually do something about it. Instead of thinking to myself “I wish I had read the Bible last night instead of watch TV, oh well” I can say “I am giving up TV completely for the next 40 days and will read the Bible every night”. Giving up TV forever would be difficult for me, but 40 days is doable. 

Is there something in your life that you do a lot of, and then afterward feel empty? If so, give that up for lent. Do you feel bored on the weekends or in the evenings and feel like God is not using all you have to offer? If so, commit to help someone or volunteer somewhere during this time. Lent is all about making bold moves towards God. God likes it when we pray big prayers and take big steps towards getting to know and serve Him. 

Yes, we should be striving to serve God and love Him daily, but once a year why not take a REALLY BIG step in the right direction?
Some may disagree with me on this but I will say it anyway. The act of giving something up or taking something on does not have to happen during the specific days of lent laid out by the Church (which is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter). They can happen for however many days and during whatever part of the year you want it too. 

The purpose of lent is to strengthen your relationship with God, repent of your sins, and give up worldly things that are tempting you to sin. What matters is that you actually do that, not when you do it.  Celebrating Easter is so huge to me that I like to spend the 40 days before Easter giving all of myself to God. Therefore, I do follow the specific dates of lent, but you don't have to.

You may be thinking to yourself “well I already missed the Ash Wednesday service at Church and I don’t really have a relationship with God so how can I participate in lent?” My response to you is this. There are people who will show up to the Ash Wednesday service, get a cross of ashes wiped on their forehead, will decide to give up eating sweets for lent (for the sole reason of losing weight) and will not grow at all in their relationship with God because for them, it was all about going through the motions of what they are supposed to do this time of year. 

Then there is you, who did not go to an ash Wednesday service and who is thirsty and hungry for more meaning in your life and for a relationship with God. For you, it’s all about wanting more God in your life, not following a tradition. If this sounds like you, but you are not sure where to start then begin with prayer. Commit to pray to God daily for the next 40 days. If you can do more, try going to church (any church) once a week or reading a proverb or psalm every day. I promise you will be blessed. 

God has blessed me tremendously during lent in the past and I am thrilled to see what will happen this year. Will you join me? 

Bible Reading: Read Matthew Chapter 4. Here Jesus was tempted by the devil while he was fasting for 40 days. “Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”(Matthew 4:10)
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