Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of the Lent season. Lent is the 40-day period of time between now and Easter, minus Sundays. The practice of Lent is commonly practiced as a way to remember the sacrifice and gift of Christ as the Savior of the world, the suffering He endured on the cross and then the triumphant victory in Resurrection Day. I have personally practiced Lent for several years and as I approach this year, I want to do so with some heart preparation. Here are a couple of questions to consider as you move into the period of Lent.
What does God want me to realize?
Ash Wednesday is more than just a starting day for Lent. The usual practice is to have burnt palm fronds and mark the forehead with ashes in the shape of a cross. This is to remind us of our mortality: ashes to ashes and dust to dust. We will one day return to the earth from where we came. During this Lenten season you may want to focus on the impact of your life or the meaning and purpose of your life. Ask yourself if what you are doing really matters in eternity? How does God want you to operate in this life with what you have and have been given?
What should I “give up”?
Lent usually consists of participants going without something they value in order to remember what Christ gave up for us. This can range from candy and sodas to meat or other foods. As a way to honor Christ giving up something of value can be very effective. As you “desire” that item or become hungry, prayers go up and help us center on a desire for Christ more. This Lent season, ask yourself what is it that you desire in life? Ask what is competition with your relationship with Christ?
Lent is also a great time to focus on giving to the poor and helping the needy. Jesus showed great concern and compassion during his time on earth. Lent is a wonderful time to focus on helping those in need. This Lent season you may want to give away some items in your closet or serving in a soup kitchen. You may want to send funds to people in another country or use money you save from spending eating out to help feed others. Ask yourself who is it that God has shown you that is in need? Ask God whom you can serve? Ask what amount of money or time you can give in service?
For more resources to help you with your journey through Lent, check out these links for devotionals: