Steve Wilkins on Lent

Fasting and prayer are not to be done because they somehow merit God’s favor. They don’t. Lent, like all the other ritualistic activities we do in life, can be dangerous. And we need to be very careful to avoid the problems we have sometimes seen in others: 1. Remember that though seasons of preparation and fasting are useful, observing Lent is completely a matter of freedom for Christians. Lent doesn’t make the participant automatically more holy or pleasing in God’s sight than the non-participant (nor should the non-participant think himself superior to the participant). The issue is not participation or non-participation, but growing in faithfulness to God. 2. Remember that disciplines like fasting do not subdue the flesh. That which enables us to die to sin and sinful desires is the Word and Spirit of Christ. 3. Remember that the point of Lent is not to give up pleasures, but to give up sin. Some get all caught up in giving up chocolate or steak for Lent. But the point of Lent is to give up idols. Just as it’s easier to write a check than it is to spend time in actually showing mercy, so it’s far easier to give up a steak than it is to avoid sinful anger or to break off your lusts. The point of Lent is not to give up chocolate; the point is to turn away from sin and grow in holiness. 4. As we go through Lent, we need to remember the goal of the season. It is not to be morose and sad or sinfully introspective. Rather, it is to be enabled to see the greatness of God’s grace and mercy toward us so that we are stirred to walk even more faithfully. Just as a time of sickness enables us to appreciate the days of health that we enjoy and just as the loss of a friend or loved one enables us to appreciate our remaining friends and family even more — so, Lent should enable us to rejoice all the more in the work of our Savior in suffering and dying and rising again for our sakes. Lent is like a journey but the end of the journey is not at the cross on Good Friday but at the empty tomb on Easter. Because we are united by the Holy Spirit to the resurrected Jesus, the conqueror of sin and death, we can face our own sins and weaknesses with faith and hope. In Jesus, we know that we are forgiven and accepted by God, and we have hope for real healing and transformation in our lives. And that in the end is the value of having a corporate season of repentance.

Advertisements

About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
This entry was posted in Church Calendar, Lent. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s