Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the official start of the Lenten season. Millions upon millions of people worldwide will spend Lent giving something up. This is the traditional way to remember Lent and it is a fantastic way to focus our attention off of the blessings and on to the Blesser. If you are giving something up for Lent I hope that you find great fulfillment in that and a unique closeness with God this season.
I will not be giving anything up for Lent this year. In 2011 I realized that I had never done anything for Lent. I reasoned that because I was a Baptist I didn't need to. I reasoned that our God is not interested in our religious practices; rather, He is interested in us living for and with Him in a personal relationship.
I was right. We don't need to follow a Church calendar to follow Jesus. We don't need to observe Lent.
What I missed in my "evangelical snobbery" (to modify a Lewisian term) was that observing Lent, though not a mandate, is a good way to follow Jesus better. I will not observe Lent out of religious obligation; I will observe Lent as a way of challenging myself to dive deeper into the waters of Christ.
That being said, I will not be giving anything up for Lent this year.
I will be adding something for Lent. For the fourth consecutive year I will be blogging daily during Lent. I have found that by blogging daily I force myself to have a real, well reasoned encounter with the Word. I have to not only read my Bible, but I have to understand what I read. I've also found that I have to look all around me for inspiration. I've seen the Gospel in the weather, in my friends, in movies... I've seen God all around me.
So, I will blog daily again this year. I pray doing this stretches me. I also pray that what I write will be an encouragement to your faith as well.
Are you doing anything to observe Lent this year? Please let me know with your comments.
Consider utilizing the Lenten season to grow your faith in Jesus today.