Some of you may beware that yesterday (3/5/14) was Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the start of the Season of Lent. It always follows a celebration of indulgence or what you may know as Mardi Gras. If you are like me, then you probably haven’t heard much about Lent. The first time I heard it referred to, I thought it was in reference to the fuzzy stuff found in my blue jean pockets. (<Lame but solid attempt at a joke.) But for those that don’t know, Lent is a 40 day period, not counting Sundays, that is observed by Christians of certain denominations as a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter. During the season of Lent, believers observe a period of fasting, repentance, moderation, and spiritual discipline. This is all in an effort to reflect on what Christ has done for us. (John 3:16)Through the season of Lent, we want our minds to be focused on the life that Christ lived, His suffering, His death, His resurrection, His love, grace, mercy, and His second coming, basically, The Gospel. The Gospel that has the power to save. (Romans 1:16)
Being a Baptist pastor, we don’t normally celebrate Lent. This season is not found in Scripture, our ultimate authority for life, so therefore we don’t see it as a need to observe. But I think the goal behind Lent is honorable, so I encourage believers to try it. Spend the next 40 days giving up something and trying new things that will help you grow as a believer and follower of Christ. Spend the season of Lent reflecting on what Christ has done for you and is continuing to do on your behalf. (1 John 2:1).
Here are 6 things that I will be doing for the Season of Lent
1. Giving up coffee
That’s right, I’m not going to drink coffee in the morning for 40days! In other words, don’t mess with me in the morning. Just kidding, but for real…. I will be giving up my morning cup of coffee, or should I say, cup of sugar, creamer, with a side of coffee. There is a reason behind this. Coffee is something that is difficult to do without, but I can. It has a grip on my mornings and I would rather Christ to have supreme control. (Don’t worry; I’m not saying that you should quit too.) The main reason is this, every morning, during the Season of Lent, I will get up and think about getting coffee, but I won’t. Which will lead me to think of why I’m doing it. So every morning, I will spend extra time reflecting on the Sacrifice of my savior and His love for me.
2. Giving up sweets at night
I will also be laying off the sweets at night. I have a major sweet tooth, so every evening I have to have a hershey kiss or two or a dozen. At night when I refuse to eat those hersheys, I will think of the reason why. I will spend more time thinking about the One that redeemed me. Plus, when I have those cravings, and I will, I’m going to stop and talk with my Heavenly Father.
3. Reading through the Gospels in 40 days
This is in addition to my normal reading. I just want to take some time to read and reflect on the life that Jesus lived, the commands that He give us, the death He died on my behalf, and that FACT that He lives today.
4. Walking/Jogging in the Morning
I’m doing this to get up in the morning, get out, and be in the creation of God Almighty. When I force my self to get up and get going, I will remember why. Plus being outside and seeing God’s creation is always a reminder to me of how awesome He is.
5. Making a special effort to serve other people
Christ is the ultimate example of a servant and a leader. I want to make more of an effort to be like Him.
6. Making a special effort to give more
After what Christ has given me, forgiveness, salvation, and a new life that is eternal, I want to try harder to give to others. This might be more money in the offering plate at Church or more to my favorite charity. It might also be me giving more time to people in order to help them and encourage them.
This list of things I plan to do will not only help me in my reflection on Christ, but will also help me grow. Through these sacrifices, I will become more discipline in my life, which in return, will help me be a better follower of Christ. I encourage you to give this a try. I hope my list is a help for you. And remember, just because you didn’t stat on Ash Wednesday, doesn’t mean that you can’t observe Lent. Start today or tomorrow. It’s not when you begin, but why you started that really matters