It’s the time of Lent right now and it’s one of those times where I really need to take a step back and see where exactly I am in my desire to grow closer to God.
Lent is the time where we remember when Jesus spent 40 days in the desert fasting. During that time, Jesus suffered physical, emotional and spiritual pain along with temptations from the devil. Jesus remained strong and kept His focus on God throughout the entire process.
During Lent, Christians take this same opportunity to try to grow closer to God. Most people during this 40-day period will stop doing something that they believe is holding them back from God. Some people give up certain foods, while others give up bad habits (like too much Facebook) that are distracting to their walk in faith.
For me, I won’t reveal what I am giving up. But I will say that I am working extra hard to really get myself closer to God during this period. Instead of taking something away, I feel that this time I am going to work harder in everything in my life. I can glorify God and grow closer the best I can if I do my best in life.
During church today, the sermon talked about how Jesus during his 40 days went through a lot of temptations and tough times. But because Jesus knew the goal ahead in God’s glory, He didn’t lose sight of the plan.
How did Jesus keep focused throughout the whole thing? Because He knew God was going to do these three things (via rhyme):
God will provide
God will guide
God will abide
Throughout the entire fasting period for Jesus, God provided Jesus with what He needed. It’s a strong reminder for us that God will give us what we need to endure anything we do to grow closer to Him.
God was also a great guide for Jesus. With all the temptations, how wonderful is it to know that God will continue to guide us? Whenever we are lost or confused, trusting God to be our guide gives us a sense of security. At least for me, I know that having that trust in God makes the journey much more easier to endure and accept.
And most importantly, knowing that God abides in us probably makes it all worth it. He will never abandon us no matter what. Every moment of our lives, God wants us to grow closer to Him. No matter how much we’ve screwed up or how badly we’ve fallen, God still wants to be with us. That’s some real powerful love right there.
The most important thing that I take (and I hope you guys take as well) from this is that we can’t forget why we’re giving up something during Lent.
When I was a kid going to a Catholic elementary school, I never understood why we gave up things. I was told why, but the teachers never made it applicable to us. The school did a terrible job in teaching us about a relationship with God. It was all about actions that kept me and God on good terms. That obviously is not the case.
That’s not how we need to view this. During the time of Lent, we are reminded of how Jesus suffered so much to grow closer to God. Although we’re not asked to replicate what Jesus did, we still want to grow closer to God. This is something that we have to want, not something we’re told to do.
How badly do you want to grow closer to God? Knowing that God will provide, guide and abide in us, it’s an easy choice. No one else will continue to support and love us like God. That alone makes me want to grow in Him. He’s just that wonderful.
That’s what God wants from us. And whatever steps we take to do so during Lent, God will be smiling. Whether it’s less chocolate or more daily scripture readings, God’s happy that we’re making that effort to better ourselves for Him.
And through this, we can be captivated by His love. It will extend past the 40 days into Easter. It will become a part of us. We want to grow so close to God that we will drop all the things that hold us back.
So as we are in this season of Lent, remember how awesome God is. Remember the beauty of the love He gives us. And remember that God will NEVER abandon us — He will always be here.
What will we do to help us grow closer to a God so wonderful? That’s what Lent is all about. It’s our journey to find the answer to that question. And we know that we’re not alone on the journey.