In this podcast I have a brief discussion on Lent and how to partake
What are you giving up this year? Desserts, sugar, fast-food, Netflix, social media, and coffee (never). This is typically where the discussion of Lent begins, right? There is so much more to Lent and the conversation starts with, Jesus! Lent is the forty days leading up to Easter Sunday and it is modeled after Jesus' fasting journey into the wilderness for forty days. There he was tempted in every way by Satan and he overcame all three temptations. Check it out in Matthew 4:1-11. There is another journey in the Old Testament that involves forty. Can you guess it? Yes it was forty years in the desert for the Israelites right after they were released from hundreds of years of slavery under Parhoh in Egypt (Exodus). Both Jesus forty days in the wilderness and the Isralites forty years in the desert were focused on preparation.
God was preparing Jesus for his ministry and ultimately His work on the cross and resurrection. God was also preparing His chosen group of people in the Old Testament for the promised Holy Land. As we step into Lent this year may we take a posture of preparation.
First let’s reflect on the weight of sin in our world and lives. Really!? That is so depressing plus we are no longer bound by sin we are set free by Jesus Christ! That is absolutely true. Now let’s split this into a two parter reflection if you will, with a special focus on Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.” Understanding the magnitude of sin and what it leads to is important. To sit in the reality that without Jesus Christ we are truly dead now (spiritually) and eternally should break our hearts and lead us to yearn for our savior. Second part is of utmost importance and where I spend my time reflecting during Lent and that is, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Second repent This free gift from God leads us to repentance; we no longer desire to live in sin and rather turn to God (Romans 2:1-5). It is vital to understand what sin is in order to know what to turn from i.e repent. Sin is a natural inclination to do what is not good according to God regardless of if it may seem good in our eyes. This includes both motives and actions (Matthew 5:22-22;27-28). Sin defined at its core is rebelliousness and disobedience against a law that God has written on our hearts (Romans 2:14-15, Genesis 2:16-17). Sin disables us spiritually it changes both our inward condition and character (Romans 1:21,28). During this Lent season ask God to reveal in you possible brokenness that may be driving a wedge in your relationship with Him.
Third serve John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This is a season to be generous by giving our own time, finances, and giftedness. The time you would have spent on that Netflix series can be put to work working at the local food-bank. The money spent on that daily run to Starbucks can now be donated to missions work around the World. All the posting and/or scrolling on social media can be spent talking with a friend who needs encouragement. If you need help finding ways to serve we have you covered here at Southport Church. Please feel free to reach out directly to me or through our Get Connected spot.
Notice I did not say to start with fasting but rather to focus on these three steps and then choose what to fast from. As you journey through Lent this year you will definitely fill up the void of whatever you give up with God’s preparation for Easter. May we come together as the body of Christ during this season as we prepare to celebrate our Risen King Jesus Christ!
Pastor Ricardo Garza
Community Life Pastor