Thinking about Lent, again.

Lent is just around the corner. It begins on March 5th, which is Ash Wednesday and ends with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Lent is a season that belongs to the Christian calendar, just like Advent or Epiphany. But it’s different. Advent, on one hand, is about waiting upon the Lord to act and work in our lives. Epiphany, on the other hand, is when God shows up. Both seasons look back to historical, biblical events, and looks ahead to how God is going to act in our lives. Lent, in a certain way, anchors the Christian calendar in the frustrations of life. It is a season where we are reminded of our humanity, of our mortality, of the need for complete and total dependence upon God.

Lent is a season that looks back to Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness. He was sent there by the Holy Spirit. After he fasted and prayed for 40 days, he was met by the Devil who challenged and tempted him. Jesus resisted the devil, who in turn fled from him. In the end, when Jesus died, all Satan did was put three nails into his own coffin. Lent is a season for us to journey alongside Jesus in the wilderness.

But it’s not for everybody. It can be a very sobering, frustrating season. But it can be very rewarding.

Here is the tricky thing. If you are going to observe Lent, then you must be sure of your secure identity and standing before God. Jesus secured your sonship and standing before God. Lent gets you no brownie points with God. It does nothing for you. All the season is, is a discipleship tool for you to, in a very intentional way, live out your union with Christ. So Lent is not about proving your love for God or trying to get God to love you. He already does! This is a season for you to see God at work in your life.

So I made a 40 day bible reading plan, complete with questions and prayers, to guide you in this task. Here is the PDF — Lenten Devotional.  I hope it is a blessing to you and glorifies God in your lives.

PS. You should really read Sam’s take on Lent. His counsel is brilliant. I love his last point:

Don’t forget to feast! No church tradition which practices Lent, ignores the fact that every Lord’s Day is meant to be a celebration. Every Sunday is a chance to gather and celebrate what God has done, what he is doing and what he will one do. Lent is not meant to be an Emo kid’s favorite time of year. Remember if you are in Christ, everything has been paid for. It is finished!