Last night I attended an Ash Wednesday service to lead into the season of Lent. For those not familiar with Lent, it is the weeks leading up to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (Easter). It is a time of reflection about the most significant event to ever happen in the history of the world, an event that has changed and is continuing to change the lives of many.
With reflection comes the opportunity to press further in our faith. In Hebrews 12:1 we are encouraged “to lay aside every encumbrance” (NASB) in our pursuit of God. The New International Version uses the phrase “everything that hinders”. During Lent, this season of reflection, many people choose to give up something in order to have more time to spend pursuing God (removing an encumbrance, a hindrance). If they choose to give up something that is a regular part of their lives, the noticed absence of that event or food or whatever will be a reminder to them that there is something more significant in life, and that is God.
If you have done this in the past, or if you have never done this, I encourage you to consider it. If you don’t know of something that you could give up, ask God to show you what you could let go of for a time. Once set in motion, you will find times when it becomes particularly hard to keep the commitment. Turn to God for strength. This denial in your life will build your character, and I venture to say that when Easter morning arrives, you will be so glad that you did it. God will become more significant to you in your life, and you will realize that in Him is where life is to be found.