The season of lent is here! This is the 40 day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.
The traditional purpose of Lent is the penitential preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial. Many churches profess and people go on partial and complete fasting during this period to attain a level of purity and closeness to God. The virtual world has been abuzz with mails, tweets, and statuses ever since the onset of Lent, encouraging people to observe abstinence, fast and to pray, along with following other rituals.
Well, I myself propagate fasting and prayer but I don’t do that for the purpose of forgiveness from sins.
It is finished
When Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished”, he really meant it. Our sins have been atoned for and our debt has been paid in full. There’s nothing we can do or should do more, than putting our faith in Jesus to attain redemption. As the bible declares, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Gal 3:11)
Not works but grace
What makes the season of Lent meaningful is the purpose with which we fast and pray. That’s what really matters to God, not the number days we fasted and the hours we put in prayer. We don’t have to please people around us, or even the God above us, with our traditions, rituals and acts of charity. We are accepted by God whether we fast or not.
Led by spirit or flesh?
It is good to fast and pray. However, when it is for a period as long as 40 days, it should not be a decision made in the flesh, but in the Spirit!
Jesus didn’t wake up all of a sudden and decide to fast and pray. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness! (Luke 4:1) Even the two other mentions of a 40 day fast in the bible (Moses & Elijah) were divinely led and ordained. If we attempt one without God leading us, we risk falling out of the reach of God’s grace, and thus are prone to the enemy’s attacks on our health and walk with God.
A season of self-examination is welcome!
What do we do instead, in this season of Lent? Let’s examine ourselves, using this as a time to seek the heart of God and draw closer to Him. Let’s repent from every sin and break away from every yoke we are under. That is real fasting according to Isaiah 58. Let’s also share the message of the cross with someone who has not heard it before. Share God’s love with someone in need of it.
What has been your practice during the Lent? How do you plan to spend the Lent this year? We would be glad to hear from you!