Lent | 3.1.12
Genesis 15:1-6, 12-18
For years I saw Lent as a social exercise to track the church’s observance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert. In addition, it meant giving up something that represented one of life’s pleasures or conveniences—like eating chocolate, drinking Diet Coke, or parking in a high dollar spot near my office . . . again to track a seasonal tradition common to my friends and family.
In a way, I would attempt to control and customize the meaning of Lent to represent something that worked well with my life and circumstances. Not only would I choose to “sacrifice” ceasing to consume something for which there are readily available substitutes, but I would also seek to gain the acceptance of friends and family through participating in what seemed like a tradition of “going without” for 40 days.
When I later committed my life to Christ, Lent took on a whole new meaning. The 40-day sacrifice was more than a “going without” period. I started to contemplate a deeper significance and meaning in my life, often reflecting on Romans 3:23-25 “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” My celebration of Lent became more focused on the gift of salvation— knowing that the Lord of all things came into this world to live among us, to overcome the temptation of the evil one, and to ultimately offer his own life as a sacrifice for my sin. This time would draw me to reflect on knowing that I am forgiven and counted righteous by faith in Him, not by my good works . . . and His Holy Spirit will guide how I conduct my life to abide in Him.
Yes, I still find the “going without” for 40 days a useful exercise to help me reflect on the Lord refusing to give into temptation and His ultimate sacrifice. Even more, during this time I am reminded that I should approach every day like a day in Lent, more and more praising Him forHis love, grace, and mercy that always sustains me. May I always put my faith and trust in Him.
Associate Professor of Finance
You can download the full Lent and Holy Week Devotional Guide at:http://www.belmont.edu/religion/files/lent-devotional-2012-final.pdf