By Pastor Kay Singley, First Christian Church, Cincinnati
We have just observed Ash Wednesday on Feb. 22, which is the beginning of the 40 days of Lent recognized in many churches. Traditionally, Lent is the season that precedes Easter Sunday. It is a time of recommitting our lives to God and seeking spiritual growth. There are many steps that we can take to seek to draw closer to God and Jesus Christ during this time.
We can begin the season of Lent by asking God for forgiveness for our own sins and then recommitting ourselves to living out our faith in new ways. What one change would you like to make in your life? Now is a good time to pray for God's strength to help you take some baby steps toward that change. Is there a temptation that you would like to overcome? Jesus was tempted and resisted it. Pray for the help you need to resist temptation. What is something that you have been hesitant to do? This is a time to trust God to help you tackle that challenge. Carving out quiet time in our busy lives is a challenge. Yet, time to pray and reflect upon God's word will help us grow spiritual lives.
During Lent and the days after, what new disciplines will you begin to let your light for Jesus shine in your world? Perhaps, you will decide to do the daily routine things of life for others with great love. Forgiving another who has wronged you frees our spirit from the bondage of unforgiveness even if your forgiveness is not acknowledged. Praying for those who are hurting around you brings God's goodness to bear in your life and in the lives of those you pray for. What small act of kindness will you show to others as you journey through these 40 days of Lent? Kindness is the candle that lights up the darkness of evil and discouragement in this world. Christians represent God and Christ on Earth. Be His valentine to others showing His divine love. When we can, let us take steps to help others for we need to recognize the fact that everyone has challenges.
In order to embark on these disciplines in our life, we will have to be seeking opportunities to share them. The Apostle Paul reminds us, "And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Gal. 6:9-10.
Attending church services will support your efforts to meet the changes and the challenges in your life. While your church will encourage you, you will also encourage the people of the church with your presence. The season of Lent can be a time to examine your life and to ask God what He would have you add to your life to live more pleasing to Him.
May your journey through Lent draw you closer to Christ and to others as you imitate His steps.