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The Heart of Lent

The season of Lent can help us strengthen our spiritual lives. Lent is the forty days before Easter (excluding Sundays) when Christians practice fasting and penitence in remembrance of the forty days and nights Jesus fasted in the desert. The Holy Spirit kept Jesus in the desert and empowered him to overcome dangers (the desert), hardships (no food nor drink) and temptations of the world (Matt 4: 1-11).

Having withstood the test of the desert, Jesus emerged victorious and stepped into his purpose. He immediately started His ministry proclaiming the gospel. Then when the time was right, He gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Through this act, He defeated death and once and for all freed the world from the penalty (1 Thess 1:10),
power (1 John 3:19) and presence (Gal. 2:20, 1 John 3:2) of sin. This is good news! Everyone now has the choice to reunite with God by accepting this gift of salvation (John 3:16). But not everyone chooses to accept or treasure this gift. This is oftentimes a heart issue.

Fasting may position us to deal with this heart issue. During Lent, Christians give up something, such as a favourite activity or food. But nothing we give up compares to the redeeming sacrifice Jesus made for us. In light of God’s sacrifice we should examine our lives to see any way we disobey God’s word and the Holy Spirit. Disobedience to God is sin (1 John 3:4), and we need to be freed from it. Our self-reflection should lead to godly sorrow that breaks our heart for the wrong
we did and lead us to repent (2 Cor. 7:10) to stay right with God. It makes us grateful for the sacrifice Jesus made, so we can truly accept it and reciprocate God’s love. As it says in Luke 7:47, “he who is forgiven much, loves much.”

Lent also reminds us that we are precious to God (1 Peter 1:18-19) and we must live in a way that honours and glorifies God (1 Cor 6:20). Whether you are just starting to think about seeking Christ or are a mature believer, the broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17) that we cultivate during Lent is valuable every day of our lives. It keeps us humble before God so that we bear the sweet fruits of salvation, and hold firm to eternal life. This Lent, may we grow grateful hearts so that we can fully give our lives to God.

by Aneisha Collins-Fairclough

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