A Word From Richard
It’s one of those mysteries of life that lots of people, church and very unchurched, see marking Lent as something to do. Especially giving up … chocolate, alcohol, etc. … or the latest ‘give up’ social media – no scrolling, no reading, no posting.
By the time Easter comes round, whatever is given up returns. There isn’t usually lasting change, and life rolls on another year.
I guess it’s like those New Year resolutions which fade gently away as January passes.
But this Lent, you want to do something that really does make a difference. You want to do something that deepens your love and understanding of God. You want to do something that touches the lives of those around you with the love of God.
There are four things you can do to make difference, deepen your faith and touch those around you (even if the effect seems hidden from you):
Get foundations – following Jesus can be a rocky path. You need to establish your faith on secure foundations. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve come to faith just recently or been following Jesus for over 40 years (like me), we each need to build securer foundations, those building blocks that strengthen faith and deepen love. You can best get foundations by meeting with others to work through your questions.
Get links – following Jesus is not a solo sport. We are called to be in a team that supports and encourages one another. For reasons known only unto God (said tongue in cheek), He gave only one Plan A – it’s His church. You can best get links by being amongst his worshipping people, and those of us there linking out to newer people.
Get healthy habits – following Jesus is helped enormously when we create those good habits of faith: thinking about how your life is going, praying for God to change and use you, reading the Bible to understand more, meeting with others regularly, and making church (being amongst His worshipping people) a priority week by week. I know it sounds legalistic. I also know that those who become good at sport, good at work, good at creating, do it within a culture of healthy habits.
Get a role – following Jesus is about partnering with Him in changing our communities for good and changing lives for eternity. Just as Jesus served those around Him, so we serve those around us. That happens in the church – how can you assist the gathered worshipping people of God? That happens in your workplace – how can you be the one known to hold the highest standards? That happens in your community – how can you show love to the neighbour bereaved, ill or struggling?
Lent is our great opportunity to re-focus our lives. Lent is our re-boot moment. Lent can be our help to get foundations, create links, form healthy habits and serve those around us.
Four key areas to make your Lent an amazing Lent for you and for God’s work in this world.