By Dr. Foster H. Shannon
Lent is a forty day time leading up to Easter, the celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. It is a long standing tradition of rededication and discipline. It is appropriate time for us to look at our lives and consider an appropriate way to partake in Lent. It represents discipline in the lives of believers, sacrifice, and repentance. It is appropriate that we rededicate our lives to our Lord, and seek the newness of life that he offers. Hebrews 12:1-3 is an appropriate passage:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
This passage encourages us to “lay aside” the weights and sins that slow us down and keep us from the best that our Lord has to give. We are to be renewed in the goodness that God has for us. Lent is an appropriate time to take an inventory of our lives; what is a burden and what is a blessing! It involves giving up some things that attract us, but that it would be well for us to do without—and to commit to 40 days of discipline. Lent has been a time of giving up something—but even more importantly of taking on something that would be good for us and honoring to our Savior. Taking on something could be committing to a study of one of the gospels, perhaps John or Luke, keep a notebook, and write down what you learn from each chapter.
Lent should also be a celebration of good news, that God wants the best for his children. Jesus said, “I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”~ John 10:9,10:
Jesus came from heaven to teach us and guide us and save us. Without him, we are lost in our sin and captive to our desires, guilty in the sight of God. What can be done about our rebellious spirit? Christ went to the cross without any guilt upon him, the perfect lamb, and paid the penalty for our sins in his sacrifice on the cross. In him we find forgiveness of our sins and acceptance before God. We become his children; we belong to him forever. Lent should not be a downer. It should be a time of renewal and joy! Our God is good. He waits to bless us.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.” ~John 10:22,23