Today begins Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the church’s traditional celebration of the Lenten Season. I choose to participate in Lent (here’s why if you’re interested.) Part of my Lenten commitment is to follow along through the Seek God for the City prayer guidebook that Pastor Bob’s been promoting and that we have available at church. I hope you’ll join me in that, as I’m sure I’ll refer to it in these blogs.
But it’s important to keep the right motivation and attitude in observing Lent. If it’s somehow for the purpose of earning favor with God, then it’s a human effort destined to fail as we’ve been learning in Romans 10. That’s the performance treadmill and Lent is wasted on such pursuits. If it’s a way to remember and honor Christ’s sacrifice and a way to practice restraint vs. indulgence then it can be very useful. Such disciplines are valuable if they are a means to an end and not an end in themselves.
As verse 8 reminds us, what matters is what goes on in our heart and our mouth, not in our external actions.
So here are my Lenten aspirations (I don’t call them vows or promises) that I selected in my quiet time this morning:
1. To carve out ## minutes to be with God every day (a number that’s aggressive for me).
2. To faithfully go through the Seek the City prayer guidebook.
3. To skip one meal per day or the equivalent.
4. To record every gram of food that i eat (I’ve been inattentive in this area and I want to fully expose and surrender my appetites).
5. I will pray daily for God to develop in me a greater heart of compassion for others, particularly the spiritually lost.
6. I want to emerge from this time with a more intentional, organized prayer life (vs. haphazard).
I’d love it if any of you would choose to share your Lenten aspirations with me!