Devotional: Understanding the purpose of Lent
Lent is a 40-day season that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter.
Lent is a season of repentance – a great time to reflect on aspects of our lives that are unChrist-like that we would like to change. This is the place for us to begin – to do some reflection on our lives. What are you looking for in life? What fills your calendar and time? Does your life lack passion or purpose? Is life passing you by because you are caught up in wasting your precious days on empty pursuits and meaningless interests?
Ash Wednesday is a good time to make a change of direction – from the things that lead us away from God to the things that lead us to God. What is the way to God, you ask? It is Jesus Christ. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” John 14:6 NIV. It is through our faith in Jesus Christ – his death, burial and resurrection – that we find life.
Many churches have Ash Wednesday services. During the service a priest or minister will take ashes (from burned palm leaves and mixed with a little oil) and make a sign of the cross on a person’s forehead. The ashes are a reminder of our mortality and a symbol of repentance. The cross reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice, resurrection and forgiveness.
This Lent season, turn to Jesus. Turn away from all that would hold you back from faithfully following Jesus Christ. Spend time in his word – the Holy Bible. Hear his voice. Lay aside all interferences and follow Him!
Let us heed the words of Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” NIV.
This year, Lent is from February 10 (Ash Wednesday) to March 27 (Easter).