Why does Lent last 40 days? The forty days represent two things: 1) the Israelite people (aka Jews) wandering around in the desert for 40 years in the Old Testament; 2) Jesus Christ fasting and praying in the desert for a period of 40 days in the New Testament. In both cases, the Israelites and Christ had to rely on God for their provision and strength. They lived on very little and had no choice, but to trust God for their "daily bread." -- Take one day at time for each day has enough worries of its own (paraphrased Matthew 6:34).
We live in a chaotic, fast paced world. No time to think, really. No time to catch our breath. We run from one thing to the next barely hanging on. But during the season of Lent, I force myself to stop. I ask myself questions like:
Where am I going? How am I really doing? Am I living for myself or a greater Purpose? Is my goal in life to get, get, get? Or do I see my work and job as a means to get so that I can give, give, give? What purpose do I have? Am I making a difference? Am I using my time, energy and talents to the best of my ability? Am I squandering the life God has given me?….
Sadly we do not like to stop and get real with ourselves because we are afraid of the answers to our questions. Perhaps we know we are not really living up to our God-given potential. We are not living lives of gratitude and generosity. We are not living purposeful, intentional lives. So instead of facing the truth head-on, we busy ourselves and run away from it. But that's no way to really live. That's just a bandaid on the problem. We can't outrun it. We need to face the truth no matter how hard it might be.
So friend, will you join me? Will you join me these next 40 days? Will you Stop. Pause. Reflect. Choose something in your life you want to change. A habit you want to develop. Something you want to give up. Practice the art of self control. Practice self discipline. It's like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Who is with me?