What Is God Calling You Toward This Lent?

Lent began this week.
Lent
Lent, for any who are not so familiar with this time in the Church calendar, is a time to practice self-denial for the purpose of becoming more unified with Jesus.
Lent is a 40 day period in which we set aside time to gaze at the crucified Christ in order to awaken a sense of our sin, a sense of guilt and sorrow over our sin.
Lent
Why? In order to feel shame and a sense of not-enough?
Not at all.
Rather the purpose is to awaken a gratitude for the forgiveness of our sin and what that cost.
Again, why? In order to feel warm feelings of thankfulness and look-what-was-done-for-me?
This is also not the end towards which we are heading.
Rather the final purpose is to awaken and motivate the works of love and justice that are done in gratitude for the forgiveness of our sin, done to the glory of God.
Lent
Glorifying God is the end.
Before we can get to the glory, however, before we can get to the gratitude or the sorrow or the guilt or even the sense of our sin at all, we must begin with time.
Time.
Time spent gazing at Jesus.
Time spent gazing at Jesus’ life and, more specifically during this season of Lent, at his cross.
Before anything else at all can happen in our life-with-God, we must begin with a sacrifice of time.
Lent is, as I said in the beginning, a season of giving up. A season in which we practice the habit of denying ourselves in order to become more like Jesus.
I want to offer you a challenge this year. A challenge that I will be attempting right along with you.
Give up something for 40 days.
Not a purposeless sort of giving up, but a giving up for the purpose of gaining more of God.
Speak with the Holy Spirit about this before deciding. Sit for a time in silence before God and listen to what he might want to say about this.
Lent
What does this look like?
Perhaps it is giving up something in order to spend more time with God. Such as a show. Or a few minutes of sleep in order to be still before God.
Perhaps it is giving up something in order to become more aware of God’s presence. Such as fasting from food periodically or for a time. Or a podcast in order to have some silence in your day.
Perhaps you have been living in a particularly indulgent way lately and simply need to exercise your spiritual muscles of self-denial. Such as giving up one of those indulgences.
Traditionally, Sundays are feast days even during Lent. They are kind of a mini-Easter. Practically speaking, this means that whatever you are giving up, you gain it back on Sundays. Celebrate that and give thanks for the good things God has given us.
Will you join me?
Lent
Find a way, some way, any way, to spend time gazing at Jesus during these 40 days of Lent.
If you, like me, have been distracted lately, giving God only a part of your heart, join me in doing whatever it takes to return to him with your whole heart.
Listen to the promise he gives us through the prophet Joel:
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;
Use these 40 days of Lent wisely, using the rhythm of this season to return wholeheartedly back to the Lord your God.
He is waiting.
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all photographs are copyright 2021 Made Sacred

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