While we have walked together through Lent, we have been talking about self-examination, repentance, and growing in our faith in the Lord Jesus. Lent is a time when we pay particular attention to denying ourselves, taking up our crosses, and following Jesus. Much like Advent, this is a time of preparation.
You might ask, “Why do we need to prepare ourselves? Is this just another ritual? ” I think it matters that we set aside these times of preparation, and let me give you a couple of reasons:
First, we often call Jesus Savior, but it is good for us to reflect on what that word means. Only those who need to be saved need a Savior…and we confess that we always need a Savior! That alone suggests that we should never stop considering the depth and breadth of Christ’s work.
But we could (and must!) do that at any time. Why should we set aside a season to focus on it? We sometimes forget how powerful it is to practice a habit and, in some seasons, to practice more intensely. If you wanted to be really good at a sport, like football for example, you would practice and train all the time. But before the season starts, a football team has training camps. These are times when practice and training become more intense in preparation for playing games. If we see the need for this with sports, how much more as we consider our salvation!?
The small groups in our church are starting a new study on what it means to be Reformed and Missional, and in the preface the writer asks: “What kind of me does God want for His mission?” Lent is a time for us to concentrate on that sort of question. Think of it like training camp … this is a time of intense practice. We examine ourselves, humbly repent, and more firmly believe what Jesus has done because God is preparing us for eternal life! That life only ever comes to us in a perfect Savior nailed to a cross and risen from the dead!
So let me encourage you. Even if you haven’t gotten into Lent this year… start praying now. Perhaps start this week by praying through Psalm 32 or Psalm139. God is at work in this world all year—what kind of you does He want for His mission?