5 Blessings We Miss When We Don’t Practice Lent

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Wed, Feb 22, 2023 – Thu, Apr 6, 2023

Use Lent as a time when you connect with the Savior and renew your prayer life. You may find God speaks to you in ways you never knew he would during this time. 

Lent is the period before we celebrate Easter, during which we commemorate Christ’s death and resurrection. Protestants often skip Lent because it’s more associated with the Catholic tradition. But Lent can be celebrated in such a way that we become more connected to the Savior and grow more deeply in our spiritual lives. 

Here are five blessings we miss out on when we don’t practice Lent:

1. Intimate Prayer

A few days before Jesus was turned over to the Pharisees to be killed, he spent the night in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was there he begged his father that it was not God’s will for him to have to endure the cross. Although Jesus probably knew the answer would be no, he still took the time to ask anyway. In our busy lives, it is common for us to unload our spiritual requests before beginning our already overpacked days. Lent can be a time when we take prayer more seriously. Jesus prayed with all his might that he would not have to sacrifice himself on the cross. Even Jesus had deep desires that He brought to God. When is the last time you spent a significant amount of time in prayer for some of your deepest desires? Use Lent as a time when you connect with the Savior and renew your prayer life. You may find God speaks to you in ways you never knew he would during this time. 

2. A True Understanding of Sacrifice

Catholics view Lent as a time to give up something they love for forty days to better understand Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. However, because we understand that our salvation is not based on works but rather on grace, we often skip the hard parts of Lent and choose to indulge in all the many blessings God has given us. But what if we followed the Catholic tradition in this way and gave up something for forty days? It could be social media, desserts, TV, or something else. 

If you’re unsure what to give up, take a hard look at your life. In what areas do you feel you overindulge and lack self-control? Do you watch too much TV? Spend too much money? Eat too much? Take this time to improve in this area by giving up something you love. It will be difficult at first. When you are tempted to quit and re-engage in that activity, stop and ask the Lord to give you strength, stamina, and endurance. Every time your mind wants to deceive you into giving in to that temptation, bring it to the Lord and tell him you need his help. The Holy Spirit may give you more strength and stamina than you ever thought possible. In the end, whether you pass or fail, Jesus will honor you for the sacrifice you tried to make. 

3. An Acknowledgment of Jesus’ Suffering

Although none of us will completely understand the physical toll the whipping took on Jesus’s body, nor will we ever understand the emotional humiliation of being publicly shamed and put up on a cross for a crime he did not commit, we will understand suffering in this life. Jesus promises this if we are his children. Our suffering may not come in the form of a cross, but it may come in the form of public mockery, job loss, or loss of reputation or status. These things will be undoubtedly difficult to handle. But we are not alone. Psalm 18:5-6 says, “In my distress, I prayed to the Lord and the Lord answered me and set me free.” 

God promises that if we call out to him in our doubt and distress, God will free us from those fears. Even if the situation does not end up the way we would like, we can be assured that God is with us and will always do what is in our best interest. Even if we cannot see what the best is at the time, we can know that we are not walking in the situation alone. At any time, we can call out to God, and God will be present with us. We can choose to walk in freedom from doubt and fear because of Jesus’s presence in our lives. This is afforded to us through Christ’s suffering. By observing this during the time of Lent, we’ll better understand why his suffering was so necessary.

4. A Better Way of Life

Spiritual disciplines are a necessary part of our spiritual lives. When we practice spiritual disciplines such as fasting, we deprive ourselves of basic necessities so we can allow God to fill that void. When we fast from food, we will quickly realize how much we rely on food for our strength. When we choose to fast from one meal or even all meals for one day, we will quickly realize how weak we truly are. Jesus had to rely on God for his entire time of ministry. But it is in the Garden of Gethsemane we see how closely his relationship was with his Father. We can have that same relationship, and we can observe this special spiritual bond during Lent. 

Utilize the Lenten season to rely on God more than ever before. Choose to pray to him more frequently throughout the day. Participate in spiritual disciplines such as fasting and allow fasting not only to help you grow in your dependence on God but allow this time to help you reset your body and release the toxins from all the processed foods we often choose to eat. When we fill our bodies with whole foods and water, we achieve better health. When we participate in such things, we grow spiritually, mentally, and physically. We will achieve a better way of life when we choose to observe these things during Lent.  

Another great benefit of fasting is it breaks any sort of strongholds in our lives. If overindulgence in food or drink poses a difficulty for us, fasting will help reset our minds so we are not so dependent on these basic necessities. If we replace meat and dairy with vegetables, we will find our bodies benefit greatly because of it. If we fast from coffee, we will break a bad habit in our lives and perhaps even give up coffee for good. Our bodies will benefit physically from the lack of an addiction to caffeine.

5. Becoming More in Tune with God’s Voice

When we participate in Lent and become more focused on the suffering sacrifice of Christ Jesus, we become more in tune with God’s voice. When we focus our time on becoming more like Christ, God honors our obedience by speaking to us more regularly. Sometimes what we hear makes perfect sense; other times, it makes no sense. As we step out in obedience and do what we believe God is calling us to do, he will honor us by speaking to us more regularly. We will grow in our spiritual lives because of our obedience to God. 

Although Lent is sometimes seen as a tradition practiced by other faith denominations, Lent is for all Christians. Any time we choose to focus less on ourselves and more on understanding God, the more God honors us. By focusing on God during Lent, we will become better people and more mature, sacrificial Christians. 

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