I didn’t plan to fail Lent. I really did have the best intentions. Time for prayer and confession. Repentance and fasting. Hope and pursuit. But a few mere weeks into the Lenten season and I’m failing. And scrambling. And also taking time to realize this is what Lent is all about.
Lent is about Jesus and our need for a saviour. It is about His sacrifice – coming to earth fully God and fully human, living a perfect life, dying a perfect death – on my behalf, then rising again to conquer sin and death, so that I might truly live. If this isn’t relief, and relentless tenderness, I don’t know what is.
What is Lent?
- Let’s start with what Lent isn’t. Lent isn’t a weight loss plan, a self-help program or another area of life to perfect. These may be natural outcomes of “Lenting”, but definitely not the goal.
- The Lenten season isn’t in the bible. Say whhhaattttt?? We humans thrive on routines and we love cycles, calendars and reminders. We are a very forgetful people, I still need to check which gym class I go to … every … single … Monday.
- Lent, meaning “40th” in Latin, is the 40 days starting on Ash Wednesday leading up to Easter Sunday as a time of preparation and repentance as we await the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It represents Jesus’ ministry on earth, His death, and ultimately, His resurrection and our new life in Him.
“Lent is a pause button. It is a quiet unlike any other time of year. Lent is a season to close our eyes as the busy world buzzes around us, to consider those things we’d much rather forget: our sin and our humanity. We came from dust, and to dust we will return.” – She Reads Truth
- During this time, many Christians choose to fast something. Examples include: social media and technology, sweets or junk food, alcohol or coffee, swearing or online shopping. This (small) sacrifice serves as a tangible reminder of how Jesus chose to become the final sacrifice and offering required for our sin separating us from God. I like to think of it of “to give up, in order to pursue”.
What am I doing this Lent?
This year, I gave up little luxuries I like to call booze and refined-sugar. And I’ve failed. My spirit is willing but ohhhhh this body is so weak. I’d like to make excuses and justify each failure, but I don’t need an excuse. I have an answer. Jesus. Where I’ve failed even more, is in my time of prayer and reflection. There are tons of awesome online resources, like the Gospel Coalition and She Reads Truth , that send daily scriptures and devotions straight to your inbox. And even with these tools, I still haven’t made it a priority to keep up.
But today, I’m seeing my failure for what it is: lamenting over my sin in preparation for the joy of my Saviour. Because of my hope in Jesus, His mercies are new every morning and I get a clean slate.
” When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
For additional information and resources on Lent: