Philippians 2:8 - And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
The penitential season of Lent has just concluded. Hopefully, for you and your family it's been a season of reflection on the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ—a period when you paused to consider your walk in this world as "little Christs."
It's a quiet time, a time to recognize the stillness, as the psalmist records: "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10a). Granted, this is hard to do in the hubbub of our hectic world. The constant din of TVs and stereos can drown out that stillness, and many of us have grown accustomed to the white noise of our world. Add to that our own hustle and bustle and cramped schedules, and it's easy to see why it's hard to be still, to know God through reflection and meditation. What a loss!
During the Lenten season, many churches identified areas for their members where their Christian walk might take on a strengthened dimension through focused individual or group Bible study, or a renewed commitment to worship.
In years past, many Christians practiced giving up bad habits or fasted during Lent. These practices come and go. While I'm sure there was probably some good gained in denying ourselves something for the sake of self-discipline. As a matter of practicality, I believe more good will result in devoting our time to our personal faith and life.
And this goes for the rest of the year as well. For instance, just because Lent is over, it doesn't mean we shouldn't be drawing closer to Jesus. To do that, find a quiet space and reflect on God's profound love. If it's 15 minutes in God's Word, then give yourself over to it. Stick to it. Reflect on what His Word has to say. Dig deep. Ask questions of the text (write down your thoughts if that helps). Meditate on His truths. Ask God in prayer how you can better serve Him, your spouse, your church, your neighbor. Seek the Holy Spirit's help to take the Lord into every minute of your daily life.
Then explore the many possibilities that can enrich and strengthen your life. At home: can we be more loving and forgiving to those who mean so much to us? Can we take the time to show our unconditional love? At work: are we really a Christian example to our coworkers? Can we be more mindful of the struggles others are going through? At church: where sometimes, ironically, it's the hardest, can we put on the mind of Christ, giving ourselves to our brothers and sisters in the faith?
Now that Lent is over, let's not lose sight of what this season is all about. We've spent weeks considering the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Now let the message of God's love in Jesus resonate boldly in your own life.
May the Lenten season just past be a time of strengthening your personal faith and life to God's glory.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, impress on our hearts the love You have shown to us in Jesus. And may that love reflect in all that we do. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, March 1979 issue, "Lent—Time to Reflect on Death and Life" by Dr. J.A.O. Preus
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