Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 3 – Lent A Time For Change – By Rev. Robert Liichow
Discernment Ministries International
Lent A Time For Change
By Rev. Robert Liichow
It is interesting how things change over the years. Originally Lent was a very solemn observation. The season of 40 days was a time of increased fasting, church services and personal introspection with the hope of renewal to a fuller life in Christ. From what I have read of the ancient Church practices it seems to me as though those Christians were really seeking the Lord for spiritual growth.
What about our times today? On “Fat” Tuesday in Detroit the whole region is inundated with stories about “Packzi” Day. A Packzi is a traditional Polish donut that has over 2,000+ calories and they are made and sold on Fat Tuesday. Along with the standard local news color stories come the obligatory questions by the reporters to folks asking them “what are you giving up for Lent?” The responses varied from “I’m going to try to quit swearing,” said one lady and another “smoking,” and of course “junk food.” In fact, I know a pastor who gave up macadamia nuts for Lent! One minute after it was over, he ran to grab his nuts and eat them. Somehow I don’t believe this is what this religious observation is about.
Lent is naturally a time to consider the last days of the earthly ministry of our Lord culminating in His glorious bodily resurrection from the dead. While reflecting on the unsearchable riches of God towards us and mediating on all that Jesus denied Himself for us should cause us to desire to live lives that are progressively more pleasing to our Lord as we grow and mature spiritually.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Heb. 12: 1-2 (KJV)
The season of Lent is the perfect time to face those “weights” which can refer to things in our lives which are not sinful but can slow down our race for the prize, the high calling of God in Christ. Sinful habits that beset each of us can be seen more clearly as we fast, pray and worship God. Lent should be a time of looking unto Jesus, considering Him and His grace as we lean upon the Spirit of Grace to continue to transform us from faith to faith and glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18)
Lent is not to be a time of self-righteous works and simply exercising strong self-control, at least for 40 days.
Keep this thought in the forefront of your minds. Lenten change and for that matter any progress spiritually is due solely to the grace of God and the work of Christ as applied by His Spirit to our daily lives. It is about acknowledging your own inability to conquer your own flesh, being sorrowful over sin and crying out for the Deliverer to come and grant you freedom in whatever area is slowing you down.
Let me assure you that our Lord always answers those prayers in the affirmative. I know of no Biblical examples where one of God’s people cried out for deliverance from sin and God said “no.” I am not referring to the suffering that is our common lot in living life in a fallen depraved world. No I am speaking about issues of personal morality, integrity, and piety. If one is sincere and wants to change and grow in sanctification I can assure you that the Spirit of God will begin to apply the Word you hear & study to your daily life. The end result will be exactly as Jesus prayed when He said “sanctify them through Thy truth, Thy Word is truth” — Jh 17:17 The garden of our lives should be a lifelong work of continual Divine pruning as we both hear and do the Word delivered to us. Expect change this Lent, I know I am. ♦
Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow