Mortification, Schmortification, Who Needs Lent?
I do for one. I need anything that Jesus offers me through His Church that will help me to die to myself and live for Him. But,
"Many of my Protestant friends are uncomfortable with Lent. "It's all about mortification and self-discipline when we know that the Risen Jesus is joyful and alive!" they say. "We don't need to mortify ourselves to please God. That's why Jesus died for us, so we don't have be 'good enough'. Moreover, Catholics call it a 'holy season' and Paul says in Colossians 2:16-17 that we shouldn't observe any day as special. So hasn't the Church disobeyed the Bible by doing the Lenten thing?" ....... For Lent is not anti-scriptural. It is not something we give to God to earn his love, but rather his gift of love to us which he wants us to share. It is not primarily about fasting. Or abstaining. Or dryness. Or doing without. To be sure, it involves these indispensable things, but it does so as health involves exercise."
The above is from an article by Mark Shear discussing the season of Lent from a convert's perspective. Good reading.
I am so thankful for the seasons that are set aside for us by the Church to grow holier and closer to Jesus. Again, it's another tool that I did not avail myself of as an evangelical. There was truly a tendency to think that these special times and seasons were "works-oriented" Christianity and there was no "grace" in these practices. The Bible talks about fasting in prayer often, so far be it from me to decide: "I am free from the Law and am a child of the New Covenant so these things don't apply."
Lord Jesus, I ask that you would use these next forty days in a special way in my life. Grant me a desire to let go of the things that keep me from you. Give me the strength to take hold of the things that will transform me to your likeness and image.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.