Last week was the beginning of the Lent season. Most protestants (depending on their tradition) don’t know much about Lent. The Christian calendar was designed to help Christians remember and celebrate joyful occasions. But it was also designed to help Christians practice a variety of spiritual disciplines and think about their faith in everyday circumstances. The practice of ‘giving something up for Lent’ is to remind us of ‘mortification’ – not something we hear a lot about these days. It’s intended to help us identify or think about the sufferings of Christ.
As Christians, we are committed to a lifelong fight against the world, the flesh and the devil. Mortification is the way we combat the flesh. Paul talks about it as an essential part of Christian living. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.” (Col. 3:5) Most of the newer translations replace the word ‘mortify’ with ‘put to death.’ In Romans 8:13 he writes, “If by the Spirit you put to death (mortify) the deeds of the body, you will live.”
We must constantly be watching, praying and examining our hearts or we can enter into temptation without realizing what we are doing. Our daily battle against temptations, temptations of the flesh as the Bible calls it, will always be with us in this world. To believe that we have moved beyond a need for regular examination and confession is foolish. We begin to think of sinful habits as harmless and comforting when in fact they deaden our heart and relationship with God.
Thinking about the sacrifice of Christ during the season of Lent is a good thing. But we shouldn’t just practice it just for forty days. We need spiritual disciplines that stick with us and develop our soul. Daily we are called to take up our cross and follow Him.