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What Lent Means to Me

John Gilman March 19, 2016

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Lent is that special time of the year where for six weeks people of faith sacrifice something in their life leading up to Easter.  The key word there is sacrifice.  We live in a culture that does not understand sacrifice.  Most expect people to cater to them and feel like they are owed something.  When you look at the Bible and especially the life of Jesus you see the exact opposite.  Fast-forward to the end of the Gospels and you get a picture of true sacrifice where Jesus dies on a cross for all of humanity including you and me.

True sacrifice means putting others first and putting your wants and needs last.  This is truly a lost art, but Lent provides that time to remind us to live a life of sacrifice.  These 40 days leading up to Easter has the ability not just to affect you during that short time period, but can change how you think and live forever.  Here are some ways that the practice of sacrifice during the season of Lent can help you be a better person:

  1. Discipline – It is often said that if you make changes in your life for 40 days they become a habit that sticks. The season of Lent could help make some adjustments that will help you live a life of discipline and balance.
  2. Perspective – Our wants and needs get very confused in this culture. Going without for an extended period of time will change the way you think about things.
  3. Liberating – Often, changes in habits and lifestyle can free you up to really be who God wants you to be. Some people realize that their identity is not what people think of them, but instead of who God called them to be.  This is very freeing to live in this way only serving and worshipping for an audience of One.
  4. Serve others – Putting others first has a unique way of showing us the world from a different perspective. Helping others in need is very rewarding and is something God calls us all to do.

There are many things for all of us to consider during this season to give up or change in daily lifestyle.  For me, it was soft drinks; more specifically – Diet Coke.  I was drinking way to many a day and found myself feeling like I had to have one all the time.  When Lent came, I prayed and asked the Lord what He wanted me to give up.  I was expecting Him to lead me toward something a little easier.  Instead, the soft drink issue was brought to my mind and heart and how dependent I had become on them.  So for six weeks, I avoided any soft drinks.  It was hard and I even got headaches, but I shook the habit.  I am happy to say that a year and a half later that I have not had one soft drink.  The benefits of this were definitely shown through the physical side, but also the spiritual side of disciplining myself.

Pray about what God would have you give up.  Although it may be tough to begin with, you can do it as you remember the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus who gave it all for you and me.

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