For many people, Lent is a time to give up something. There’s good reasoning behind that spiritual discipline: Lent is a season of repentance, a time to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely” (Hebrews 12:1), and an opportunity to journey with Jesus to the cross.
Repentance, however, is about more than just turning away from sin. Turning away from one thing means that you are, at the same time, turning towards something else. The Heidelberg Catechism (one of the historic teaching documents in the Reformed tradition, written in question-and-answer format), puts it like this:
Q. 88. What is involved in genuine repentance or conversion?A. Two things: the dying away of the old self, and the coming-to-life of the new.
This two-fold movement echoes the language of Romans 6:11, which says, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Lent, therefore, can be also be a season in which we embrace new things that help us turn more towards Jesus and experience life in him.
Perhaps the simplest and easiest practices to adopt (if you don’t do them already) are times of daily Bible reading and prayer. Making a point to engage with Scripture and seek the Lord in prayer are incredibly formative means by which we nurture the “coming-to-life” of our new identity in Jesus Christ.
Whether this is something you currently practice or not, a resource that can help you is DevoCast. There you will find customizable daily Bible reading plans and podcasts–all of which are read and produced by members of the Bellefield family. If you don’t already have a way that you engage the spiritual practices of Scripture reading and prayer then I encourage you to check out this resource.
As we move deeper into this Lenten season together, let’s be intentional about this two-fold movement in which we set aside the things that draw us away from Jesus and we embrace the things that bring us near to him. This is what repentance is all about, and I invite us to join together on that journey.
I pray this finds you healthy and well.
Grace and peace,