This is the time of year you hear, “what are you giving up?” Ash Wednesday gets its name from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheads of participants. As the cross is put on the body, we hear the words, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel." The Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday and continues for 40 days, not counting Sundays.
Lent is a time to think about how Jesus Christ suffered for you and me. Denying ourselves of something we love helps us be more attune to God’s voice. This is where the practice of fasting comes from. It is a way of disciplining and strengthening ourselves and a small way of participating in the sufferings of Jesus. Fasting can be found in the Old and New Testament with Moses, Elijah and Jesus. Exodus 34: 28, “So he (Moses) was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water.” Deuteronomy 9: 18, “...then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water…”
1 Kings 19: 8, “And I (Elijah) fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights; I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all your sin which you committed in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.” Matthew 4: 2, “And when He (Jesus) had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.”
Last year my pastor said he was giving up control for Lent and letting Jesus be in control. I think a lot of us could give up control! I try to give up “my time” during Lent. I use that extra time to study God’s Word or just sit and be still with Him! Psalm 46: 10, “ Be still, and know that I am God.”
Lent offers us an opportunity to reflect and respond to how we may spend the rest of the year, realizing the need for a Savior and putting Him as our top priority! It is a time to open doors and break barriers. Through this time of preparation we love our Lord a little deeper so when Good Friday and Easter comes, it will be an opportunity to receive the overflowing grace that God has to offer!
Let this Ash Wednesday be a time to reflect and share our thanks, for this is the time to share our greatest sacrifice. May your Ash Wednesday be a time of reflection and promise.