February 18, 2019

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Looking Forward to Lent

I have never looked forward to the start of Lent.

Lent is a time of repentance and atonement in anticipation of the commemoration of the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ Jesus. The whole idea of repentance and atonement always bothered me.

Until now.

This year, I can’t wait for Lent to begin.

First, I’ve been called to redirect my zeal away from politics and toward God. Instead of bringing people into communion with the Constitution and liberty, I’m asked to bring people to Christ and Christ to people. Missionary discipleship makes Lent far more interesting.

Second, I’ve come to the realization that slavery is a constant. There is no such thing as a free man or woman. As Bob Dylan said, you gotta serve somebody. If you’re not a slave to Christ and the Father, you’re a slave to sin and Satan. There are no third options. Therefore, the whole idea of preaching freedom is kind of misleading. Freedom does not exist in a vacuum. We must be free from something. While I still want myself and everyone to be from the arbitrary rule of other men, I now want freedom from slavery to the things of this world more (1 John 2:15-17).

Finally, I look forward to Lent because I kind of started Lent 45 days early this year, and I’ve learned a lot. One thing I learned is that I spend a lot of money on alcohol. A lot. I also spent a lot of money eating out. By bringing my own lunch to work and giving up alcohol, I saved an amazing amount of money in one month. (If you’re a Christian man wanting freedom from this world, check out Exodus 90. It’s very hard, but it’s not as hard as slavery to a dying world.)

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on March 6. It runs for 45 days, ending on Easter Sunday, April 21. We live in a culture that elects governors who call for the murder of babies if they’re born with a condition that threatens' their mother’s lifestyle. Doesn’t it make sense to break the chains that bind you to such a sick, depraved society?

The first step, for me, was to admit that I don’t really want to be associated with that culture. I want to join the counterculture. I want freedom from slavery to the culture of death, and Lent is the perfect time start filing away at the chains that bind us to death. Chains like television, social media, 24-hour news, endless shopping, addiction to comfort and leisure, nonstop sports, prescription drugs to alter our moods, self-medication to alter our moods, sloth, laziness, ambition, workaholism, and all the other chains that bind us to the culture of death.

So I look forward to Lent and I ask that you pray for me that I will keep my zeal for God and Christ and not turn back to that long (but incomplete) list of chains that bound me for so long to this depraved and dying world.