Practices that need to be year long. Not just for Lent…

So, 40 days and nights, then all? is well??? NOT! We need to always constantly seek The Lord and grow in our faith. Pointers?

1. Give Glory to God

The first Lent practice we can apply year-round is giving glory to God. Most of us make sure that throughout Lent we take extra measures to ensure that we are actively praising God for His goodness. Sadly, after the forty days of Lent are over, many of us go back to our normal everyday lives and neglect to give God the daily glory He deserves.

1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Similarly, Revelation 4:11 says, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” In addition to these passages of Scripture, there are many more examples of the importance of giving glory to God in Psalm 115:11 Corinthians 6:20, and 2 Peter 3:8. This Lent-focused practice should be sustained all year. 

2. Spend Time with God

A second Lent practice that we should apply year-round is spending time with God. When individuals choose to spend more time with God, they tend to feel more joy, love, and happiness. After Lent is over, many people do not keep up their practice of spending time with God and wonder why their emotions more easily cave to sadness and gloom. 

Spending time with God is something that we need to do every day. Even if we are short on time, we need to make the intentional decision to spend time with God. Set aside time in the morning, on your lunch break, or at the end of the day to read the Bible, pray, or listen to worship music. The Lord is with you throughout every second of every day, so He is always ready to spend time with you. There is not an inconvenient time for God as He is beyond time. 

If you make it a habit to spend time with God daily, you will not regret it. Once you are daily in the Word and spending time with God, you will be able to grow deeper in your relationship with Christ. We need to always seek out God first in our day as Jesus tells us, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). 

3. Give Thanks to God

Giving thanks to God is a third Lenten practice that we should apply throughout our year. Some people choose to focus on gratefulness during the duration of Lent, and they will give specific attention to thanking God for His blessings in their life. They may write down and record all of God’s blessings each day, or they may give a silent prayer to God in thankfulness. Giving thanks to God needs to be a practice that extends further than the forty days of Lent. Instead, Christians should give thanks to the Lord every day. 

We owe everything to God as He created us, redeemed us, and blesses us with eternal life. Paul tells us, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). No matter what we are presently going through in our lives, and no matter what we will go through during the upcoming year, we need to give thanks to God. The only reason that we wake up and breathe is because of Him. Ephesians 5:20 reminds us we should be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

4. Focus on Christ

Focusing on God is a fourth practice of Lent that we should apply year-round. It is common for many of us to focus on God during Lent, yet after Lent is over, we begin to prioritize other things instead. Spring fresh on the calendar, soccer practices, prom dress shopping, choir recitals, and graduations become the focus of our hearts. Instead, we should make the intentional choice to focus on Christ rather than focusing on the world, our schedules, or what others think about us. All that matters is God and who He says we are. 

Focusing on God can be hard, especially when the world is screaming lies at us; however, we have to make the deliberate decision to focus on Christ. Drown out the noise of the world with the peace and love of Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-2 speaks this truth into our lives, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The author of Hebrews is telling us to lock our eyes on Jesus and to not sway to the left or the right. When we focus on Christ, we will have more glorifying and joyful lives in the Lord. 

5. Confess Our Sins to God

A fifth Lent practice we should apply year-round is the routine rhythm of confessing our sins to God. It is not uncommon for individuals to confess their sins to God during the forty days of Lent; however, after the forty days of Lent are over, it’s easy for repentance to fall by the wayside. Confessing our sins to God is very important as we cannot experience forgiveness and healing apart from confession to God. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” In the same way, James tells us, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). 

When we confess our sins to God, we can experience forgiveness and healing. Confession to God should not only be done during the forty days of Lent, as confession needs to be done each time we sin. And, unfortunately, we sin each day of the year. We can confess our sins to God by telling Him our mistakes, apologizing for our sin, and turning away from the sin. This can be hard, yet a life filled with confession is a life that is focused on God. The Holy Spirit uses this righteous routine of confession to give us His strength to deflect the enemy’s temptations. 

6. Be Kind to Others

Being kind to others is another practice of Lent that should be part of our daily lives. Oftentimes, people choose to be kind to others during the days of Lent, yet they can quickly turn back to bad habits once Easter is over. Gossipping about the new coworker, neglecting to check on a friend who is sick, or skipping out on a small group leader who needs our help becomes too easy when we drop the practice of intentional kindness. 

Being kind to others is important to practice throughout the year as it extends Jesus’ love, grace, and compassion. Paul tells us, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). We should extend kindness and love because God does the same for us each day. As followers of God, we should follow His example and be kind toward others. In everything we do, we need to treat others the way we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12Luke 6:31). 

7. Take Time to Serve

A seventh Lent practice we should engage year-round is taking time to serve. Serving God can be done through a ministry, in your local church, among family and friends, as well as in your daily life. Taking time to serve will take away some time and energy from your day, but you will be richly rewarded with the joy that accompanies serving others. Volunteering at your church, doing a Bible study with your family, or going on a missionary trip are all ways you can serve God throughout your year. As Christians, we need to follow Jesus’ example and take on the nature of a servant (Philippians 2:1-11). Serving God and others will bring great joy to your heart not only during Lent but also throughout the year. 

If you feel you lack the leadership skills to serve, don’t have the financial means to donate money, or simply aren’t sure where to start, you can offer God a simple prayer each morning, “Lord, show me who I can help today.” This daily prayer will focus your mind and heart on actively looking for ways to serve others. It might be as simple as holding the door for someone who is elderly or disabled as they finagle their grocery cart. Or you might offer someone a simple smile and “Hey, how are you?”. God doesn’t need your finances, tons of your free time, or any elaborate skills. All He needs is your willingness and intentionality, and from there, through Him, you can serve overs year-round. 

Published by Fellowship of Praise: ALL praise to God our Reason, Hallelujah!!!

To God be The glory. Let us praise God together for His ALL in our lives, Amen.

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