As we have finished up with chapter four of Matthew, I wanted to say something about lent. Lent is the forty-day period before Easter, not counting the Sundays because they commemorate the Resurrection. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2006 (this year), and ends the day before Easter. I think of it following Matthew 4 because lent is a time of reflecting what Jesus did Himself as He withdrew and prepared for the work that God had Him to do. “Lent is a season of soul-searching and repentance.” It began in the earliest days of the Church as a time to rededicate to Jesus or for new believers to prepare to be Baptized.
I have observed lent off and on throughout the years of my believing life. Fasting from something for 40 days that really has a hold on me, so I can redirect my life to God. I remember two years ago I tried to fast from cigarettes. It was not a successful lent, but I walked closer to God as I moved away in some steps from something that was hindering my relationship with Him. I know some people have fasted chocolate, sugar, caffeine, etc. The point is to spend specific time to reflect on God. When you think of the thing that you have given up, to think of God and what He has done, to think of what hindrances there are between you and Him, to turn away from those things and turn to God. I have not decided exactly what I am going to be fasting this year; I am praying about it. But I wanted to encourage others, to take this 40 day period of Lent coming up to reflect on Jesus and to turn toward Him and His brightness of life.