It’s Ash Wednesday, folks! How do you feel about it? What do you think about Lent? Is it Biblical? Just this morning I was reading the ninth chapter of the gospel according to Matthew and just loved how Jesus said “…then they will fast” (Matthew 9:15). According to Jesus, there is time to feast and there is time to fast. Yesterday, on Mardi Gras, we feasted. Today, on Ash Wednesday, we begin to fast.
Fasting does not get us to heaven. Only Jesus saves us. But even Jesus fasted. So there must be something to it, right?
Fasting does not necessarily mean abstaining from food but it does mean creating time and space for spending more time with God. Fasting means concentrating on Jesus and getting rid of things that hinder our spiritual growth. Hence we could fast from Facebook, TV or any other thing that consumes our time so much that our time with Jesus is getting sparse.
The other thing that caught my eye this morning was how Jesus encourages us to “Go and learn what this means: I want mercy and not sacrifice“ (Matthew 9:13, CEB). What could it mean? Jesus’s words point to the book of Hosea:
I desire faithful love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God instead of entirely burned offerings.
(Hosea 6:6, CEB)
Such a perfect word for Ash Wednesday as we start our Lenten journey. It is not about how we fast but why we fast. God invites us to know him better.
Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.
(Hosea 6:3, NLT)
When we truly know God, when we are saturated with his grace, we start living like God meant us to do: loving God above all else and neighbors as ourselves. That’s our goal and that’s our desire. Come, Lord Jesus!
Forgive me for wanting my own way,
especially when I know your way is always the best.
Forgive me for desiring to forget that I am dust.
Cleanse me from all unrighteousness, Lord.
Bless my Lenten journey.
Help me to create more room for you in my heart.
Help me to get to know you deeper.
Bring me closer to you and people around me.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: What are you thinking on this Ash Wednesday? What are your plans for Lent?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you enter into the season of Lent! May you get to know God a bit better!