The dictionary gives us the following definition of Lent:
Lent - noun
(In the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.
This is the first year that I am truly in observance of the season of Lent and I'm finding it difficult, yet rewarding at the same time. I say this after only five days.
Last night in church we learned that Lent is also a season for becoming holy. It's an appeal to God for a clean and good conscience. If we can choose something to offer up to God that would put our focus on Jesus instead, it would be part of a process of sanctification. Other processes might include prayer, fasting, and self denial.
This year I'm offering up TV... I know some people don't have lives consumed by their television, but I do. I am only limiting myself to one hour of tv per day intead of the normal five that I can do during the week and who knows how many hours on the weekends. I started 'practicing' last Sunday and did pretty well and then kept on going through the week. So far, so good.
I bought a lot of books off of Amazon to fill up my time and am going to start journaling some thoughts on paper again. I used to journal ALL the time, but then stopped. Blogging sort of counts, but all of my deepest thoughts and emotions can't be put down on here for the whole world to see!
We also learned that Lent is not a law or a rule that is stated in the bible (I always assumed it was in there under fine print). We had an uneven exchange with Jesus - he died for all of our sins and the least we could do is spend 40 days with a good faith appeal for a clean conscience and to just seek Christ... it really is all about your heart.
We were told not to judge the sacrifices of others - if somebody is giving up chocolate, I shouldn't go to them and be like, 'Big whoop! Chocolate... that's lame!' because we don't know what the one (or more) 'things' are that keep people from knowing Jesus. Maybe their lives are consumed with chocolate? Who are we to judge?
I also learned not to focus on the loopholes... and I found a loophole - movies. My friend and I were having a discussion about that this morning and then another friend brought up the same thing! We're not sure if this would count or not. I said 'no' because for myself personally, tv is mind numbing. I find myself staring at it, but not really watching it or I'll just have it on for background noise. Movies you would be focused on and learning the plot... see, loophole. I can justify anything.
I feel like I'm going to be transformed in the next 40 (or less) days and am excited for what lies ahead. I just hope that I can meet God where He wants me to be and that I will be able to focus more on what kind of person I want to become with His help.