It seems ages since we had all the fun and sweetness of pancakes just before Lent started. All the excitement and chat about giving up chocolate or something else. I wonder how many have kept to their promise. Somehow Lent has drifted away from me this year and has been overlooked in the busyness of everyday happenings.
Lent celebrates the time when Jesus went into the desert for 40 days to build his relationship with God, in its changed form, now that he was on earth, and to prepare for the mission that would end with the cross and resurrection. It wasn’t just a soft cosy chat with a loving God. It was a time of struggle as he battled with his human self – with temptations that seemed carefully chosen to hit him at his weakest points
- Hunger – wanting to satisfy his desires
- Testing God – wanting to prove how important he was
- Material success – wanting to take the easy path and ignore God’s plan
If Jesus struggled with these and it took him 40 days to overcome them, it’s pretty cheeky for me to say I’m fine. I don’t need a Lenten period to prepare myself for Easter.
It’s certain that there are places in my life where I am making myself more and making God less.
Where in my life, am I using more than my share of the earth’s resources? Have I given thought to the difference between “needs” and “wants”? Am I getting the balance right?
Where in my life, am I wanting to be the centre of attention? When do I want to have my own way because that makes me feel important? When do I choose to be popular rather than to do the right thing? Who am I bringing down so I look good?
Have I got the priorities in my life right? Are there things that are too important in my life? It’s easy to say God comes first but what does that actually mean on a day to day basis. What things are getting too much of my focus and need to be brought down a peg or two? What things shouldn’t I be doing at all? What things am I avoiding doing that I should put more time and effort into? What things have I missed altogether?
There’s definitely no shortage of things for me to consider and pray about during the remainder of Lent. By the time Easter comes, will I be able to use John the Baptists’s words and mean them with every fibre of my being “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)