Joel 2:12-14 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing— grain offerings and drink offerings for the LORD your God.
Lent lasts forty days, which represents Christ’s forty day fast in the desert, and ends on Good Friday. Lent officially begins with a reminder of our mortality on Ash Wednesday (this year, falling on February 17th today).
Lent is the way that Christians set aside a period of time (40 days) to repent reflect on Jesus Christ. Lent represents Christ’s forty day fast in the desert, and ends on Good Friday. It’s a time to consider His suffering and His sacrifice. He died on the cross for my sins and for their sins. Jesus Christ was murdered, buried and He rose from the dead.
The Significance of 40 Days
The 40-day period of Lent is based on two episodes of spiritual testing in the Bible: the 40 years of wilderness wanderings by the Israelites after the exodus from Egypt (Numbers 33:38 and Deuteronomy 1:3) and the Temptation of Jesus after he spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13).
I’ve written about Lent in the past and I almost forgot about it this year since I have so many things going on in my life. Personally, I think that I need to observe Lent even more than in the past. My mindset hasn’t been in the best place. I’m praying that the Lord will slow the thoughts that have been going on lately. Lent couldn’t have come at a better time. I need to focus on what God’s will is for my life and for me to do what God tells me to do. Over this last year, spiritually, I’ve been trying to stay afloat since I need to find a new church home.
I’ve gone to a number of churches in my lifetime. I’ve always been a member of the Church of the Nazarene, that is until we moved to Utah and there are no Nazarene Churches where my family lives. I just finished watching a message on youtube from a Nazarene Church in Salt Lake City called the Movement Church. The video is called “Ash Wednesday Message” I haven’t taken it seriously until about 15 or 20 years ago. I didn’t have the understanding nor the importance. I’ve heard many people who have given up chocolate, alcohol and so on. That was the only thing I heard about Lent.
Since I live in Utah, which is a state where it is a primarily Mormon state. Most of my friends who are Mormon have asked me about Lent and about why I observe it. Many of my friends think it’s something that only Catholics observe. I use to think the same thing also. It’s only been around 15-20 years where I began observing Lent. When people ask me about lent and why I observe it, I will tell them that;
When I observed Lent, I give up “social media” such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on. I’ve given up social media for Lent because I spend way too much time on the computer. I’ve replaced real friends for Facebook friends. The first time I’ve given up “social media” for Lent I made it a point to read and study the Word of God. I would spend time with real friends. I took part in Bible Studies or small groups. I didn’t realize how much time I was wasting online until I gave it up for Lent.
Lent is a time of reflection and renewed faith as we focus on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For me this is a time for me to clear distractions and recommit my life to Christ. Can you join me in prayer as I begin this Lent season. I will also be praying for everyone else. I’ll be praying for strength and guidance.
Heavenly Father, my prayer is that You will guide us towards You and for You to help me find my way and for those who are lost to find their way. Dear Lord, I can’t do what needs to be done on my own. Guide us to Your Will and not mine or those who are needing prayers. Strengthen us against the temptations of Satan and shield us from evil doers that we can’t see. Lord Jesus help us to do Your will and help us do all things with a clear and peaceful mind. You are our Comforter, our hope. us to do your will, You are our creator and my desire is to do Your will and not my own. I put my trust in You. Be with me and all of those who are needing and trusting in You alone. I say this prayer in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, Amen.