Lent is a period of 40 days prior to Easter. Lent is observed through self-examination, fasting, repentance, and penance.
Essentially, it's a spiritual detox for the soul, mind, and body. People usually give up habits, certain foods, or anything else they feel that has led to sinful desires or actions.
I recently observed Lent for the first time this year and it revealed so many things about my character I couldn't see before.
I decided to give up fast food, breakfast, computer gaming, and commit to more prayer, confession, quiet times, and Bible reading.
The first week was great; I didn't do any of the things I gave up and I observed everything I wanted to improve in. The next week wasn't so good, nor was the one after.
Considering my work and efforts to alone, you could rightly say my Lent was unsuccessful. I failed so many times in 40 days, you'd think I wasn't even trying to observe Lent! Not only did I fail, sometimes I completely forgot I was observing Lent at all.
'My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.'- Psalm 73, verse 26.
Generally, I read at least one psalm a day during Lent, and Psalm 73, verse 26 became one of my favourite reminders to keep myself focused on the most important picture; the eternal perspective of God's will.
No matter how many times I failed to maintain my Lenten discipline, God had grace available to me through His Son, Jesus. This grace is not an excuse for me to not try to order my life to God's will, but a truth ensuring I won't lose hope even in the midst of the struggles of life.
My first world problems are but little faults in the perspective of the eternal.
Where does this eternal perspective come from?
What Christ bore for me on the Roman cross was not only my sin, but the sin of the whole world. Yet, through faith, I am counted amongst those who are forgiven despite my flaws and failures.
God's grace is not only abundant; but it is constant, like the sun shining through cloud or clear. Even the most unwilling will feel and know God's truth is real. We experience this grace through the Son, who shines His radiant truth, beauty, and glory into our disfigured world.
'Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.' – Romans chapter 5, verse 1.
Jack Liang is studying Commerce and Arts at Macquarie University, and he is part of a family of five. His hobbies include computer gaming, football, learning languages, and Church history. He attends St Paul's Anglican and Gracepoint Presbyterian at Burwood. He seeks to more deeply understand his faith through exploration of Church history.
Jack Liang's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jack-liang.html