For those of you who do not know or are not very familiar with the liturgical year, this Wednesday we begin the Lent or in Latin Quadragesima. Lent is a period of approximately six weeks leading up to Easter Sunday. It goes from Ash Wednesday to Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday. The purpose of Lent is to prepare the believer through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial. It concludes in the Holy Week commemoration, with the death and burial of Jesus on Good Friday and its climax in the celebration on Easter Sunday of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During Lent many people give up many things, some small and some big as an act of self-denial. Some people do not eat certain kinds of food, etc. I would like to share with you five things that every Christian should give up, not only during the Lent Season, but also during his/her whole life.
1. Hurtful Words – The first one has to do with our conversation, hurtful words. Many times we use wrong words to describe someone’s actions, failures, and character, among other things. Those words have a powerful impact in their lives, and sometimes we do not even notice what we did. This is what the apostle Paul wrote: “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29.”
2. Sunday morning laziness – The second thing that all Christians should give up is the laziness that controls many of us Sunday morning. This is what the writer of Hebrews wrote: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25”. So, Sunday morning, get up and go to church.
3. Bible reading idleness – By now, many of us who decided to read the whole Bible this year are already late in this project. Some of us just thought about it, but never started. Well, my challenge to you during this Lent Season is to give up your Bible reading idleness, and start reading it. You can start with one of the Gospels. No matter which book you pick, just do it. This is what God said to Joshua: “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8.”
4. Prayer inertia – Prayer is a big challenge for all of us. We do not have time. We do not know, we feel uncomfortable, etc. We have many excuses not to pray. Our main problem is inertia. We know that prayer is an important aspect of our Christian life, we just do not do it. During this time start talking to God, not only to share your needs, but to tell Him how much you love Him and appreciate what He has done for you. Start with a few minutes and grow from there. Paul wrote: “Never stop praying. 1Thessalonians 5:17.”
5. Witness sluggishness – Probably this is the hardest one for many people. We do not like to talk about religion. What we do not know is that witnessing is not talking about religion, is talking about what God did and continues to do in our lives. If Jesus is an important person in your life, it will be impossible not to include Him in our conversation. He was the one who said: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, Acts 1:8.” You can start inviting someone to come to church with you.
During this Lent Season add one or more of these in the list of things that you will give up.
Have a blessed week,