Ash Wednesday (February 9th) marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Lent is the 40 day period (not counting Sunday’s) before Easter. It is a time of preparation for Easter. It’s also a time that we intentionally become more reflective as to what our Salvation cost God… His Son. It’s a somber time.
In some ways, I get a little confused by some of the events leading up to Lent. Some churches celebrate FAT TUESDAY or MARDIS GRAS, the day before Lent officially begins. This festivity is actually hundreds of years old. The practice can be traced to the word CARNIVAL. If you look up that word it literally means, “Farewell to the flesh.” The tragedy is that the practice has become more of a time of indulging the flesh. If you travel to certain places… it’s a time where anything goes! If you don’t believe me go to Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I believe God is deeply grieved by such practices.
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. – Romans 8:5-8
Traditionally, Lent is a time in which a lot of Christians choose to give up something. The idea is that whenever you miss whatever you gave up… you can then think about how much more God gave up in sending His only begotten Son. The practice of Lent still has merit today. This Lent, I want to encourage you to give up something…but I also want to encourage you to replace whatever you give up with something good. In other words… add something significant. For example: if you give up a half hour sleep each night, replace that half hour with a time of personal devotion. God deserves our very best and what better time to remember that than Lent. Of course, it’s important to remember that there’s nothing we can do to earn our salvation. Whatever you decide to do for Lent needs to simply be a response to what God has already done through His Son, Jesus Christ.