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Weekly Devotional with Chris Ward: A Different Kind of “Lent”

February 16, 2024
Yorba Linda
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This past Wednesday, we entered a season in the church known as “Lent.”  Lent is a 40-day season of reflection leading up to Good Friday and Easter in which we deliberately pause to contemplate the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

For the second year in a row, we at Friends Church have decided to participate in our own version of Lent—and I say our “own version” deliberately.  “Lent” has a long history in the church, being celebrated by many Christian denominations for hundreds of years.  However, in certain religious traditions, Lent can sometimes feel like a somewhat legalistic, rule-laden season, full primarily of “don’ts,” especially in the area of food.  

In my opinion, this misses the real heart of what I think God would want us to get out of this season.  You see, I see Lent primarily as an opportunity not to take things away from our life—but to add things.  It’s like what Jesus said in Matthew 4:4: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Notice what Jesus doesn’t say in that verse: He doesn’t say that bread is bad.  Of course we need physical food!  But instead, Jesus says that bread should not be all we live on.  Why?  Because as we aren’t just physical beings.  We are also spiritual beings.  And we need to pay just as much attention to our spiritual lives as we do to our physical.

That’s why I would encourage you to celebrate this season by doing just that: by adding things to your days that help you attend to your spiritual lives and focus on Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  So, for example, what if instead of giving up soda during this time of year, you made it a point to read your Bible every day?  What if instead of cutting out chocolate, you made it a point to start out each day with prayer?  And what if instead of giving up meat on Fridays, you were deliberate to show acts of love and kindness to those in need?

In my opinion, that’s the real spirit of this season.  It’s an opportunity to be just as deliberate about our spiritual lives as we are about our physical—and to see how gracious God is in meeting all of our needs (Philippians 4:19).

I’m excited to take this journey with you in this season.  May God bless you and the church as we reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for us!

God Bless,

Chris Ward