the season is upon us. Lent. wikipedia (where would be with out wiki?) says;
"Lent, in Christian tradition, is the period of the liturgical year leading up to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ."
and continue on by saying; "There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbour). Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations."
So i have concluded that i should do something for God, for self, and for neighbour. This is tricky. last year i gave up sweets and though it was challenging, it was pretty straight forward and achievable. This year i wanted to do something that would require me to lean more on the LORD.
i tossed around a few idea's, and think i have come up with the following. to strive for gentleness and self control. that has been an aim of mine for quite some time so what better time to actually dive right into it?
Passage Galatians 5:23:
23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Passage Colossians 3:12:
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Passage Proverbs 25:28:
28 A person without self-control
is like a city with broken-down walls.
gen⋅tle [jen-tl] adjective, -tler, -tlest, verb, -tled, -tling.
1. kindly; amiable: a gentle manner.
2. not severe, rough, or violent; mild: a gentle wind; a gentle tap on the shoulder.
3. moderate: gentle heat.
4. gradual: a gentle slope.
5. of good birth or family; wellborn.
6. characteristic of good birth; honorable; respectable: a gentle upbringing.
7. easily handled or managed; tractable: a gentle animal.
8. soft or low: a gentle sound.
9. polite; refined: Consider, gentle reader, my terrible predicament at this juncture.
10. entitled to a coat of arms; armigerous.
11. Archaic. noble; chivalrous: a gentle knight.
1. clement, peaceful, pacific, soothing; tender, humane, lenient, merciful. Gentle, meek, mild refer to an absence of bad temper or belligerence. Gentle has reference esp. to disposition and behavior, and often suggests a deliberate or voluntary kindness or forbearance in dealing with others: a gentle pat; gentle with children. Meek implies a submissive spirit, and may even indicate undue submission in the face of insult or injustice: meek and even servile or weak. Mild suggests absence of harshness or severity, rather because of natural character or temperament than conscious choice: a mild rebuke; a mild manner. 3. temperate. 5. noble. 7. manageable, docile, tame, quiet. 9. courteous; polished.
self-con⋅trol [self-kuhn-trohl, self-] Show IPA
control or restraint of oneself or one's actions, feelings, etc.
self-discipline, self-restraint, willpower, levelheadedness.
So easy right? i don't think so. these are not qualities that i find come to me with ease. but oh how i long for them when i read the scriptures the desire is confirmed and when i read the definitions i year for such things like 'mild refer to an absence of bad temper or belligerence. Gentle has reference esp. to disposition and behavior, and often suggests a deliberate or voluntary kindness or forbearance in dealing with others...' this will inevitably take self control, God breathed, and that is what i am striving for. i will spend time with the Lord seeking his guidance and asking for his gentle promptings in my life over the next 40 days. And i will practice self control in all areas of my life. food, money , media, work and play. in turn i hope that i am a greater companionship to my neighbours and loved ones.
and ho did it go today? well on a score of 1-10 i would give myself a 6. I certainly was more aware of how i was not being gentle, so that is a start. and i did practice some self control.
so what about you? how do you plan to prepare for the resurrection? and no you do not have to be a catholic to practice lent.