Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on the 14th and some of us will spend six weeks going without something that we normally enjoy. For me this year it’s sweets and biscuits (I eat too many of those!) The purpose of doing without them is not just to make us feel bad, it’s to hold before God our shortcomings and recognise that temptation is real and that we often succumb – including in ways that are much more significant than sweets and biscuits.
I wonder what are the things in your life that you struggle to do without, or the habits you wish you could avoid but find hard to. To be effective, an avoidance strategy needs to focus on doing something positive as well as on what to avoid (how often have we seen a football team blow a lead when they only try to put ‘men behind the ball’ to try to avoid conceding without seeking the possibility of a breakaway goal?).
When Jesus taught people not to worry about what to eat/drink/wear etc, he said seek first God’s kingdom, and that’s why some people use Lent to do something ‘good’ instead of just avoiding ‘bad’.
Like most of us, I am pleased that Lent is not forever! It comes to an end at Easter, when Christians remember Jesus giving his life for us on Good Friday and the amazing miracle of the empty tomb on Easter Sunday morning. But it’s time for me to stop, there’ll be time for more about Good Friday and Easter in the next few weeks.