Yes, it’s that season again, the one where Christians have chosen something to eliminate from their lives starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday in order to make themselves miserable. Then there are those who partake in the season of Lent. Lent, in English simply means Spring, it’s a word which derived from German origins. In Latin it means “fortieth” and derives from the word Quadragesima.
During Lent we engage in more intensified and focused acts of prayer (God), fasting (Self), and Almsgiving (Others).
Lent was never intended to be a time of emotional self-flagellation. Over the span of Lent we are called to intentionally and consciously draw closer to Christ in the desert, remembering his battle against temptation and rejoice with him in the victory when Easter Sunday arrives. It is a period of actively remembering that we can win any spiritual battle that is brought before us. There is no need for self-hatred during Lent because we know that Jesus’ time in the desert was in obedience to our Father God and for our benefit. Jesus won the battle in that desert knowing that God was with him and that his calling was to save us from ourselves. Today we do the same thing. We join millions of other believers across the world in defeating the stronghold that luxuries can and sometimes do have over our lives. Dear brothers and sisters, don’t let anything in the mundane cause separation between you and the holy trinity.
In the desert Jesus said “no” to the temptations of the enemy and “yes” to the calling the LORD had placed on his life. I have had to join Jesus many times in that desert as I learn what to say ‘yes’ to and what to say ‘no’ to in accordance with God’s teachings.
Health and Fitness is my year round struggle of temptation. I’m still on that journey of learning that in order to be healthy I must say ‘no’ to things that are good, but not good for me. I have had to learn the discipline of getting my butt out of bed and doing some form of cardio exercise in order to prevent myself from gaining any more weight. I’ve had to learn that God must be included in my journey into the desert or else I will not defeat the never ending temptations that are thrown my way each day. The sweat and trembling that comes from strength training reminds me not to give up because dedication and commitment to doing what is difficult but necessary is what leads to increased strength.
In the moment, in the midst of my frustrations, I want that plate of poutine, an entire pizza, or a creamy bowl of pasta, but I know that immediate gratification is never a good reward. It’s the slower results of prayers, mindfulness, and working through temptations that allow us to have victory over the cross.
God does nothing in a hurry, He never has, and I believe He never will.
So… my goal in writing this post today is to encourage you to join Jesus in the desert, and alongside our Saviour meet with God in this intensified season of prayer (God), fasting (Self), and almsgiving (Others). There is victory of the cross, but in order to do so we must be willing to do the work. May this period of Lent be one of drawing closer to God, walking with Jesus to the cross, and rejoicing with him over the defeated cross and empty tomb on Easter Sunday. God Bless!