Some years ago a friend of mine told me that he had urged his children to move beyond giving up candy to giving up some habit of sin that marked their lives. About halfway through Lent he asked the children how they were doing with their Lenten promise. One of his young sons had promised to give up fighting with his brothers and sisters during Lent. When his father asked him how it was going, the boy replied, "I'm doing pretty good, Dad—but boy, I can't wait until Easter!"
That response indicates that this boy had only partly understood the purpose of Lenten "giving up." Lent is about conversion, turning our lives more completely over to Christ and his way of life. That always involves giving up sin in some form. The goal is not just to abstain from sin for the duration of Lent but to root sin out of our lives forever. Conversion means leaving behind an old way of living and acting in order to embrace new life in Christ.
My vision for this Lenten season is a time of refocusing my heart and my attitudes by spending more time in prayer and reading God's Word. With that as the foundation, I pupose also to use this season as a time of cultivating more of a servant's heart in my relationships, and in particular my marriage.
This has been a difficult past 8 months for us with my husband unemployed and I have begun to recognize much bitterness and anger within me. It is that bitterness and anger that I want to root out, to give up, replacing it with a giving heart and gentle spirit, which I know I can only do through the power of God.
My desire is a living faith, a faith which is demonstrated through the fruit and good works which arise naturally out of a loving relationship with our God.
How will you use this Lenton season?