Lent is a season of preparation for Easter, the most important moment of the Christian year. It provides space to grow one’s faith and deepen their relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It has been the tradition of many Christians over the centuries to take up spiritual practices that help such faith and relationship building. Today, we tend to reduce these to giving up something we probably will not miss anyway and eating fish on Fridays (if there is a good fish fry in the area).
To better use this Lent season, I offer the following 3-part challenge that will make Lent a much more meaningful season. It’s a tough challenge and moments of failure will occur along the way. That’s okay—ours is a gracious and forgiving God. Don’t give up!
Here’s the challenge:
(1) Give up/abstain/fast from something that you know down deep is harmful, be it alcohol, overeating, smoking, cynicism, internet trolling, messing with your cell phone while driving, or whatever (you know best your own harmful habits and hang-ups).
(2) Take up a spiritual practice (or two) that grows your faith and relationship with God—
– schedule/set-aside time for prayer each day,
– read your Bible each day,
– attend worship at church every Sunday, and/or
– join a Bible study.
(3) Establish accountability for your choices made in (1) and (2)—
– Write down what you plan to give up and the spiritual practice(s) you want to do.
– Tell someone you trust about what you are doing and ask them to check in with you regularly.
(This last part of the challenge is the most difficult, but it’s the most powerful way to support your efforts with (1) and (2).)
Remember, you are not alone in this—let God help by inspiring and strengthening you along the way.