Use the precious weeks before Easter to renew your spirit and fill your heart with God's love.
Posted in , Jan 18, 2016
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15–16 (NIV)
I’ve always loved the season of Lent. Evening worship services, time to reflect on our brokenness and need for the Savior, quiet minor-key hymns that provide an appropriate balance to perky praise choruses—all make the weeks before Easter a time for drawing closer to Jesus.
When our children were growing, we’d often choose something to give up for Lent as a family—a small sacrifice to remind us of Jesus’ amazing sacrifice for us. The kids were quick to volunteer to forego homework or broccoli. But instead in various years we gave up television, or candy, or soda. Our small struggle to set aside an indulgence reminded us of all Jesus gave up to come to earth and die in our place. And the end of the “fast” added an extra element to our Easter celebration.
This year, as Ash Wednesday neared, I hadn’t given much thought to giving something up. To be honest, I’ve had to give up several things in recent years not of my choice. Maybe I felt there was too much austerity in my daily life already, and it wasn’t fair to deny some small comfort to myself.
But on Ash Wednesday, my friend Patti mentioned she was giving up criticizing others for Lent. I was inspired by her example of changing a habit of speech. I’d recently read the book of Numbers, and was convicted by how similar I was to the Israelites when they grumbled. So this Lenten season, I’m trying to replace my habit of grumbling with a sacrifice of praise. On my own, it would be a more impossible goal than giving up chocolate. But as Hebrews says, we learn to offer praise “through Jesus.” I’m asking Him to plant His contentment and gratitude in my heart.
Faith step: Prayerfully consider giving up something for Lent.