What Is Lent?
Lent is the 40-day period from Ash Wednesday, not counting Sundays, leading to Easter/Resurrection Sunday. During Lent, people fast. While Biblical fasting only includes fasting from food, fasting for Lent in modern terms is used in a broader sense to include giving up something that is important to the person or something he/she spends a lot of time doing.
Each Sunday of Lent, the fast is broken and then resumed the next day.
The purpose of fasting for Lent is to draw closer in our relationship with God. It is to remind us to turn our thoughts toward him and recognize our fallen state and our need for him.
So when we participate in Ash Wednesday and Lent practices, here are four beautiful lessons it can teach us:
Lesson 1: The Ashes Teach Us to Focus on Eternity
Sometimes it’s easy to be consumed by the temporal aspects of life. We make plans for tomorrow, next week, summer vacation, holidays, yet, in all of this, sometimes we tend to forget that life is fleeting. However, we aren’t promised tomorrow, or even an hour from now. The Bible reminds us of this in James 4:14, “…yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
One aspect of the ashes is to remind us that one day we too will return to dust. This makes us focus on the aspect that our lives are short, and eternity is forever. When we have eternity on our minds, we can better reflect on the way we are living.
Ash Wednesday can make us question:
- Are we doing anything on Earth to make sure that someone will be in heaven because we labored and told them about the Good News of Jesus?
- Are we too caught up with the fleeting aspects of life?
- Are we storing up treasures on Earth or treasures in heaven?
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