Lent – having a biblical perspective!

Let’s consider Biblical perspectives on the practices around Lent.

This is a season of humbling penitence. In the Old Testament dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent's way of expressing sorrow for loss, sins, and short comings. An ancient example of one expressing one's penitence in this way is found in Job 42: 6. Job says to God: "Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”


The prophet Jeremiah, for example, calls for regret this way: "O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes" (Jer 6:26). The prophet Daniel also pleaded with God: "I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes." (Daniel 9:3


Other examples are found in Matt. 11: 21 and Luke 10:13, “…if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes”.


Hebrews 9:13 and 14 reads: “The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death so that we may serve the living God!”


Moses repented and fasted for 40 days after the Israelites made and worshipped the golden calf.

Lent represents a similar 40-day period (Sundays are not counted) which relates to Jesus praying and fasting in the dessert before starting his ministry.


How is Lent observed?   Preaching, hymns and prayers in Church help us to remember how Jesus suffered, died and rose from the grave. Many Christians also use their private devotions during these seasons to reflect on what the gospel events teach them and what message the Lord personally has for them.


The challenge is this: "What, if anything, is going to move me closer to God as I prepare for Easter – remembering Christ’s resurrection, this year?"

Adding prayer and study time, time with my family and with my Church and giving up conveniences to encourage spiritual discipline that will help me to focus on God and his calling on my life.


On what do protestant Christians focus during Lent?

There are two important aspects:

* Penitence: We realise our own brokenness and our need for Christ.
* Preparation: We strive to open our hearts wider for remembering Christ’s suffering and death and the celebration of his resurrection on Easter Sunday


During this season believers add to or subtract from their daily routines with the goal of drawing closer to God.


Keeping Perspective...

If you decide to observe this Season of Lent, there must be no legalism about it. We are not trying to impress God. We're focusing on preparing our hearts to receive Jesus Christ in the most meaningful way possible.


Observing Lent in these ways is no obligation! It is surely not a Biblical requirement.

But it is a good custom that helped many Christians over centuries to, in fellowship with their fellow believers, seek a closer walk with the Lord, that really should last all the time and certainly during all seasons!


Lent is an opportunity to grow spiritually, rather than being a burden, and we pray that yours is meaningful and filled with the grace and mercy of God.