"Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever." -Paul

11 March 2009

Going to the Desert

by Ben

Ah...Lent. You can smell it in the air. Although, that could be the Fillet of Fish sandwich from the nearby fast food joint. But truly, there is something different about this time of year. Some people are giving up things (chocolate, television, etc.), while others are taking on things (random acts of kindness, devotionals, etc.). What is the purpose of this "Holy Season?"

Some have suggested it is to remember the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by the devil. Others say it is to be penitent to reflect on our excesses over the past year. Still others merely say it is a time to draw closer to God.

Instead, I find that we as a culture need a reminder of what the Christian life should be like. Too often, we view the Christian life by its birthdays: Christmas and Easter. We live in days of plenty. We reside in Canaan without ever having to walk through the wilderness. Our Jesus is risen, such to the point that we neglect the pain and suffering of the cross.

This time of year is certainly about giving things up, taking things on, facing temptation, actively being penitent, and drawing closer to God, but it is also about striving to understand who we are in relation to Christ's saving work. That work is not just about atonement. We must review the whole of Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and ascension. The earthly ministry of the Christ contains countless lessons that could serve for an infinite amount of Lenten Bible studies.

Our first step in journeying through Lent is the realization that this season is different. Our second step, which I believe to be the most important, is to take action. What are we doing that makes this season different from the rest of our lives?