Jesus said “Follow me”
Disciples follow. They stay close. If Jesus walks, they walk. They watch what he does and listen to what he says. When the Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness, they want to know why. And when he returns telling them how he fasted and prayed, they want to do the same.
The season of Lent is intended to help us follow Jesus more faithfully.
The question “What are you giving up for Lent?” is intended to align us with Jesus’ footsteps. As Jesus gave up his daily routine, heading into the wilderness, so I’ll disrupt my own. I’ll give up sugar. Coffee. Social media. I’ll fast from certain pleasures. I’ll deny my wants and walk with him.
This can be helpful, to be sure. But it’s passive. I’d like to suggest a few actions that can help get us into step with the Master. The first one is for all of us.
1. Commit - Recommit yourself to faithful Sunday by Sunday worship. There’s simply no more important spiritual discipline. “As was his custom, Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath.” –Luke 4:16
Consider adding one or more of these disciplines to your life during Lent.
2. Pray the prayer of Ignatius every morning.
Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve You as You deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward
save that of knowing I am doing Your Will.
3. Take the first 20 minutes of your Lenten days, thanking the Lord for the blessings that are yours.
4. Journal your way through Lent by picking a time of the day and spending 15 minutes to write out five blessings, three concerns and a written prayer. Then listen for the Lord to speak.
5. Read one of the gospels (or all of them!) and underline every question Jesus asks. Consider why he asks these questions and how you might respond to them.
6. Seek out videos that will enrich your life, challenge your faith, encourage your walk with Christ and each other. For example, “The Chosen” series, Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ,” or Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place.”
7. Read through John Stott’s “The Cross of Christ.”
8. Write a brief note of spiritual encouragement to someone in need.
9. Ask your pastor if you can travel with him/her on a pastoral call.
10. Call Masterwork Academy and ask when you can come by the Bernsen building simply to observe their ministry to elementary school students.
11. Ask if you can join a “lunch buddy” at Anderson School and watch how they serve the child in their care.
12. Call Helping Hand ministry and set an appointment to shadow one of the counselors for an hour on a Monday or Tuesday.
13. Carve out time to attend worship on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
14. Invite friends (over dinner or coffee) to join you in this exercise. If you had to bet everything you have on whether there is a God or whether there isn't, which side would get your money and why? Or, if you had only one last message to leave to the handful of people who are most important to you, what would it be in 25 words or less?
15. Save money by giving up some luxury you enjoy and give it anonymously to someone in need in Jesus’ name.
As we hear on Ash Wednesday night, “From dust you have come, to dust you shall return,” stay close to the Master. Let’s be intentional about how to do this faithfully. Blessings will follow!