Ash Wednesday is tomorrow. Now before you click away and mumble something about not being Catholic, just hear me out. Ash Wednesday is a tradition that's been around for hundreds of years. It serves as the first day of the Lenten season. Lent is the roughly 40 days (excluding Sundays) between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Here's what I love about Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season at large. It's a great opportunity for you and I to draw closer to God. I know, I know, we can draw close to God on any day of the year but Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season offer us a focused effort to not only identify with Christ but to intentionally carve out time to spend in that pursuit. Let's face it, we pursue lots of things that we're passionate about but hear me clearly: no pursuit is more important than this one.
Ash Wednesday is about you and I realizing our mortality. If you're over 40 you've probably already realized this fact, but any of us can slip into the idea that, "we've got plenty of time left". We forget that we know not the hour or the day of the Master's return. Ash Wednesday reminds us that now is the time to get right spiritually and that even as our bodies fade, our spirits live on in eternity. Ash Wednesday is about mourning and repentance. We mourn over our sin. We repent and make a fresh and a new commitment to do things God's way.
The 40 days of the Lenten season parallel the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness. He fasted and looked to His heavenly Father for strength. As the devil tempted Him he refused to look to Himself for strength, He instead looked to Scripture as His source of strength. That's the heart of the Lenten season, to let go of what prevents us from diving deep into the presence of God. Lent isn't about losing weight or reducing calories or giving up sweets, it's about spending more time with the Lord and training yourself to lean into Him. That's what Jesus exampled for us during His 40 day journey. As His body grew weak His spirit grew stronger as He leaned into His heavenly Father. That's the journey that you and I have the opportunity to begin tomorrow. Less of me and more of Him.
Let me to encourage you to allow the Spirit of the Lord to guide your spirit into what He's calling you to let go of during Lent. Don't take the easy road, don't give up what you don't enjoy. Give up something that you've come to rely on, give up something that's perhaps prevented you from leaning more fully into God's strength for your life.
I'd love to hear how God is speaking to you. What you're committing to give up and how God is leading you. Be encouraged and keep moving forward.