Are you ready to journey into the spiritual desert for 40 days and emerge hopefully holier? To me, this is the very essence of Lent. We are preparing our hearts to better receive Jesus at His resurrection on Easter Sunday, and it’s not done in one afternoon. It’s a JOURNEY with some pretty powerful synonyms…quest, trek, sojourn, expedition, adventure, odyssey!
“Create in me a clean heart O Lord and renew a right spirit within me” Psalm 51:12
Psalm 51 is my fave psalm. I guess I’m outing myself as a total bible geek when I say that. But it is THE Lenten repentance psalm of choice, I’d say. I especially like it because we follow up “clean heart” with…
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation” Psalm 51:14
Joy. Yeah I want joy!
Yes Lent is a serious time, it’s a reverent time. Preparing for Jesus’s triumph over death is a big deal. But it’s also a joy-filled time because it’s an opportunity to draw closer to Christ. And connection with Christ is our heart’s deepest longing, where we can find our fulfillment and true joy. This is a joy that looks forward to eternal life in heaven, but also an abundant life RIGHT NOW.
We can experience the abundant life Jesus promises when we seek Him and bring our awareness back to His presence. Our closeness with Christ deepens further when we throw out our excuses, face up to the reality of our actions and vow to choose better (repentance). How can we grow if we aren’t challenged?
As we echo the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert readying himself for his ministry, we are called similarly to allow ourselves to be tested through self-sacrifice (giving something up) and commitment (adding something new). This is THE two-pronged strategy to Lent like a boss. There is no better time than now to give up a false idol or two and add in some new, spiritually healthy habits.
What are you adding or giving up this Lent?