Lent – a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ (Matthew 4:1-4 ESV)
I felt led to participate in Lent this year, and I don’t recall ever participating in it in my adult life. I thought that it would be a good way to nurture my relationship with Christ and help me to grow spiritually. I had thought about off and on for a few years and I told the Lord last year that if He brought it to my heart and mind before Ash Wednesday (the first day of the holy period of Lent), I would participate. Needless to say He did and as a result, I have given up my beloved (laughing out loud) sweets.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (I Peter 1:3 ESV)
It has only been a few days since Lent officially started and already I have seen the benefits. I know this is just the beginning and more is surely to come but here’s what I’ve learned and/or noticed so far:
- Every time I have seen something sweet that I’ve wanted, I have immediately thought about Jesus and the sacrifice He made for me. See, that’s one of the purposes of the Lenten season, to keep your mind on Jesus and what His life and resurrection means. Going without something meaningful to you helps keep the cross at the forefront of your mind.
- Not having the sweets I so desperately crave, such as Skittles (my absolute favorite candy), is strengthening my prayer life. When one has a weakness, no matter what it is, prayer should be a mainstay in order not to yield to temptation.
- I’m reminded continuously to suppress my flesh. He that is in me is greater than He that is in the world. (See I John 4:4) The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. (See Mark 14:38) This season provides the opportunity to say no to flesh and yes to the Spirit often. Just because I think I need that Turtle’s chocolate or Oreo cookie, I know that I don’t. I must not be ruled by wants and fleshly desires.
- I’m continuously reminded that Jesus and Jesus alone supplies all my needs. Lent reminds me just how reliant upon Him I am. It is during these times when you purposefully give up something that you love or are bound by, that the most temptation arises. It is God who gives us the power to wait, stop or not give in. Sometimes it is easy to forget just who is in control. It is not you or me.
I must admit that I’ve already had a few times when I have just wanted to say “forget this” and go on, but I’m encouraged by others and by Jesus who has done far more than I could ever do! Through this journey I look forward to learning and growing more. There’s no telling what the Lord may reveal!
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. (Joel 2:12-13 ESV)
Note: The choice to observe Lent is a personal one—the whole point is to focus your heart and mind on Jesus during the journey to Easter. There’s no requirement to observe it, nor should you feel quilted into participating. However, millions of Christians around the world do observe Lent each year; if you’ve never done so, why not give it a try? Whether you observe Lent in a small or major way, you’ll be amazed at what happens when you devote a part of each day to reflecting on Jesus Christ and God’s Word. (Bible Gateway)
Thank You for providing us with this Lenten season as a period of reflection and a reminder of all that took place so that we may have everlasting life. Thank You for such an opportunity to participate in order to learn more about You and be drawn closer to You. Lord, we love You, we worship You and we praise You. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Ladies, I EMPOWER you to consider participating in Lent as you feel led in your life. You can start today! I empower you to not only seek prayer and fasting during the Lenten season, but during any season you feel led. I EMPOWER you to watch God move in your life as you strive to grow closer to Him by renewing your spirit and suppressing your flesh. I EMPOWER you to remember that no matter how big our sacrifices may seem; they don’t nearly compare to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for us on Calvary. In Him we are victorious!
Will you be participating in Lent and what are you being led to sacrifice during this time?
Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a hematology and oncology practice. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church, Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.