Lent is the season when many Christians pattern their life after the temptations of Jesus. Jesus fasted from food for a period of time thus we can give something up as well.
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” Mt. 4.1-3
Ash Wednesday is the day our journey into the wilderness begins as we remember our mortality–from dust we came and dust we shall return.
The idea is to create a void in your life. When you remove something normal and regular in your life you miss it. In that moment when you normally would enjoy a cup of coffee or a bite of chocolate you now enjoy God instead. Perhaps you feast upon his word my memorizing a Psalm (might I suggest Ps. 103) or soak in his presence by praying the Lord’s Prayer.
Lent can be humbling and frustrating because it brings us face-to-face with our lack of discipline and how little things have attached themselves to our lives.
The key? Jesus was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” Lent is to be a work of the Spirit in our life. Thus we don’t participate in lent out of tradition or reject it because we think it doesn’t apply to us. Rather, we simply ask God to reveal to us what he desires for our life and respond to his leading
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps. 139.23-24
Ask God today if there is anything he desires to remove from your life for a season so you might grow closer to him. Let us listen for the Spirit. Let us listen for his still small voice.