The Loudmouth Protestant

February 25, 2009

Contemplating Lent

Filed under: christianity,God — nickisym @ 12:06 am
Tags: ,

It’s that time of year on the liturgical calendar again. The time when many Christians give up their vices and delve deeper into the spiritual practices they’ve only been shallowly swimming in. But there’s something different about this year. A sense of urgency in the season and a sense of necessity in our paying close attention to what we are doing with this season of consecration. For me, this Lenten season feels like a defining moment. What I give up is so closely tied to what I believe will be my breakthrough in God, but not only that, this time of swimming in the deep with God excites me. He’s already shown me some of what He wants to show me during the 40-day period and I completely co-sign with Him that this time together is what we need. I need this 40-plus days to be all up in His face as best as I can be. Not for the purpose of just being in His face, but staying in His face, for 40 days.

The number 4o has great significance in the Bible. It took Israel 40 years to get to the Promised Land. Noah was on the ark for 40 days and 40 nights until he was delivered into the land. Jonah gave the people of Nineveh 40 days to repent. Elijah walked Mount Horeb for 40 days. Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai with God. And then there was Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness while being tempted by the devil. 40 whole days each of these people pressed into the presence of God by praying, fasting, listening to and communing with Him. Remembering how each of those people thought it not robbery to just follow God for the 40 days impresses upon me the importance of getting the stamina to stay with Him for 40 days. Think about how many 40-day periods we’ve spent doing meaningless things which add nothing to us.

When I think about the upcoming 40 days, I think about the impact it can have on my life as it concerns taking me to another level in my life of worship. Taking my prayer life to another level. My worship and adoration of Him to another level. My giving to another level. My person to another level. This 40 days can change my life in God and take our relationship to the next level I’ve been wanting to go to. Given that, I realize that giving up the trappings of this world will only enhance that time together. Giving up certain foods, television, Facebook, shopping, etc, will only draw you in closer to God because that is you telling God, “You know what? Nothing really matters except for you.” It’s about us perfecting our relationship with the creator and not His created things. 

We should be more than happy to turn our plates down in favor of seeing what amazing food God will give us. Happy to turn off our televisions to see how God already gave us the most amazing stories to glean from in His word. Happy to walk away from Facebook knowing that we have a friend who sticks closer than a brother and will write on the wall of our hearts all day everyday. Happy to stop spending money frivolously when we could better offer that money to local charities and our churches. Happy to just give up anything that creates a roadblock to an untainted relationship with God. My rule of thumb is, “If you are struggling with giving it up, it most likely is what you need to give up.”

I can ramble on about this because the season we are entering as the body of Christ really excites me. Not to make this a results driven process, but if done correctly, God will reveal some things to us unlike ever before. But he can only do this if we consider it not robbery to press into his presence for the next 40-plus days.

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