Lent is the time from Ash Wednesday until the dawning of Easter morning—or in some traditions—Holy Saturday. Between now and Easter, what we call “Spiritual Disciplines,” is the order of the day for believers. Lent is an appropriate time to address spiritual disciplines. Lent is the season of the church year when we walk with Jesus toward his ultimate destiny on the cross. For believers, Jesus’ death on the cross and the self-discipline that it involved, is nothing less than the most positive model of faithfulness. In the sense of renewing our confession of faith and deepening our relationship with God, we can learn much from Jesus about divine values and meaning.
If it can do anything for those who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, Lent is about the deepening of the spirit of those people called to God’s Realm. Over the next six weeks we would do well to explore aspects of spiritual discipline. The word “disciple” comes from the root word for “discipline.” It is discipleship that makes our lives in Christ worth living.
Richard Foster once wrote, “Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is primarily a spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.”
Even more so, however, is that need for genuinely committed Christians to the cause of Christ. People of faith, who live sincerely from Christ’s spirit, can help our nation see beyond the superficiality of modern culture. Ours is a culture that needs a substitute model by which it can live. It is my deepest conviction that God furnishes us this model in the life of Christ. In the community that God gives us as a gift—the Body of Christ—we can thrive and live.
When Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10), Jesus was serious. Consequently, Lent is a serious time in the life of our faith and in the life of our church.