Why Lent?

A man died. He was known for his wild living. When his will was read, it was discovered that he had willed his farm to the devil. The courts, deliberating on such a ridiculous set of circumstances, decided that the best way to carry out his wishes was to let the farm grow up in weeds and briars, to allow the houses and barns to remain unpainted and to rot, and to permit the soil to erode and wash away. The court said, “The best way to let Satan have it is to do nothing with it.”

Isn’t that the truth with an individual life? Isn’t it true of your life? All that is needed for a life to go downhill spiritually is for a person to neglect his or her spiritual side, the most important side. You don’t even have to make a great declaration about your future intentions. All you have to do is stop taking care of your spiritual life to see how quickly your spiritual home collapses, your spiritual roots decay, and the weeds of sin prosper. The Lenten season is an opportunity to renew your spiritual life.

The season of Lent is a season of preparation for Easter. During Lent we remember an important part of Jesus’ life when he dwelt fasting in the desert for forty days, and was tempted by the devil. Where Adam and Eve gave in to the serpent’s temptation, Jesus does not: even in self-denial, Jesus is victorious over temptation. And late in Lent, during Holy Week and especially on Good Friday, we remember Jesus’ suffering and death to save us. The day is so much brighter when you have been through the darkness. To see the light of Jesus Christ’s resurrection on Easter, you have to acknowledge the suffering of his crucifixion that precedes it.

In Lent, we are attentive to the parts of Jesus’ life—his self-control, his patience, his faithfulness even in suffering—and we hope to gain these attributes as his disciples. I have found a yearly observance of Lent helpful in this respect.

In Lent we might give up something, do a specific prayer discipline, or change something to push ourselves spiritually. But the point is not just self-improvement or self-denial. The point is also to feel a little discomfort, a little pain, and by that to be constantly reminded of the love of our Savior Jesus Christ, who denied himself for our salvation.

If you observe Lent with giving up something or add a new spiritual devotion, use what you have given up or added to become closer with Jesus. If Lent is not about improving your relationship with Jesus Christ, it really is a waste of time. Don’t let Satan help you forget that Jesus died for you yes even you.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Bob

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