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February 16, 2024


 

In last week’s article we approached the season of Lent which began this past Wednesday and goes for the 40 days leading up to Good Friday. We said that the word lent comes from the old English word which meant lengthening in reference to the coming spring season and the lengthening of days.

 

There are many traditions when it comes to the Lenten season. Historically it is a season of fasting which urges us to focus on our own sin and dependance upon God and aligns our hearts to the suffering of Jesus. However, the tradition has come to be a season where Christians give up something. Though not fasting (which is specifically going without food), this practice of abstinence (going without something) for the Lenten season is common. Some Christians may commit to giving up caffeine, a bad habit, social media, or eating meat (hence the popularity of fish sandwiches in many restaurants during lent)!

 

What if, however, we contemplated our own sin and dependance on God in a different way? What if we aligned our hearts with the suffering of Jesus by flipping the script on the tradition of Lent? Pastor David Cassidy asked it like this: “Instead of giving up something for Lent, why not start something so good it pushes back against evil?”

 

That’s an intriguing question. There is certainly something quite valuable in practicing fasting and abstinence. There is also incredible value in taking on new habits which form us. What if you…

  • Commit to pray for someone you don’t typically pray for.

  • Determine to forgive someone (and tell them so).

  • Give a few hours to volunteer helping the under privileged.

  • Send a text of encouragement to one person each day.

  • Read and reflect on Scripture each day.

  • Generously give money away each week to people in need, as a gift, to a mission.

  • Spend four minutes a day in silence before God listening to his voice speak truth to you.

 

Cassidy follows the idea like this: “I’m sure hell is far more alarmed by such actions than anyone giving up chocolate.”

 

Have you ever determined to live in such dependance on God that you alarmed hell!? Imagine a 40-day challenge when the people of God take a stand for the things of Jesus! Where we love, forgive, give, serve, and seek every day. What would happen in our homes, churches and communities? We’d send a chill down Satan’s spine! He wouldn’t be able to stand up against the onslaught of Jesus’s Church. Hungry people would eat, hurting people would be encouraged, lonely people would be loved, broken people would be healed. Pride would be set down, fear would be released, hard hearts would be softened, busyness would be replaced with intentionality, religion would cower in the face of faith. God’s voice would get louder in our ears.

 

As often as Scripture calls Christians to lay down, set aside, or give up actions, thoughts, or beliefs… God’s Word also calls us to put on, take up, and cling to the things of Jesus. I love how Paul words it here:

 

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. -Philippians 4:8-9

 

Consider picking something up for Lent this year (You may find, after Easter, that there will be a few things you’ll readily give up).

 

Praying for you this season,

Nathan

 

 


Nathan Hinkle

Lead Pastor

White Oak Christian Church





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