Look WithinTake advantage of this Lenten season to prepare your heart, your life, to journey with Him to Easter and beyond.
What are you giving up for Lent?” Chances are, you’ve been asked this question or heard it asked of others. Over the years, I’ve given up different things for Lent: soft drinks, junk food, sweet tea and various other things to various levels of success. Interestingly though, the conversations on Lent, which precedes Easter, don’t typically venture past that question, even though self-denial is only a small part of the picture.
Lent is also about reflection and examining yourself. From that examination comes repentance. If we’re honest with ourselves, we would probably admit that it’s easier to give up the sweet tea than it is to do true introspection and repentance. It’s certainly true for me—and I’m a girl who loves her sweet tea. Self-reflection is torture for a perfectionist with a strong inner critic. It’s hard to face those areas where I’ve let myself down or where I don’t quite measure up to the level I want to be. However, if I don’t reflect, if I don’t examine myself for the areas in my life that might lead to sin, then I can’t be truly repentant. To repent is to acknowledge our sin and to turn away from it. If I want to allow God to do a new work in me, I have to actively face the areas that I’m tempted to hide away and then turn in a new direction.
Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Lent gives me the opportunity to be searched and tested by God, so that I can, turning away from my sin, follow Him, unrestrained by the things that would hold me back.
This month, we’ve included a feature article to help you understand Lent better and to explore how you can observe this season, which begins on February 22. If you want to practice self-denial and give up something, that’s a perfectly fine demonstration of your faith. There’s nothing wrong with it. That said, try to avoid the temptation to skip the larger picture of Lent. Ask God to search you and know you and to point out anything within you that might need the redemption that only He can provide.
Easter is coming and that redemption is what Easter is all about. Take advantage of this Lenten season to prepare your heart, your life, to journey with Him to Easter and beyond.