I love both Advent and Lent. Advent is the time before Christmas and Lent is the time before Easter. I feel both seasons could bring great spiritual growth, if we are intentional about how we use this time. Of course we can do the same any time of year. There is just something special about these two times of year as we focus on Jesus.
During Lent you hear many people say they are giving something up, such as chocolate or coffee. It is usually something they really like and it is meant to be a sacrifice. Sometimes you also hear about people adding something, such as reading a certain devotional.
Many years I scramble at the last minute, trying to figure out what I should do. It’s silly really. I often look at the calendar far in advance to see when Ash Wednesday will be (which is when Lent begins). Yet I still put off making a decision. Perhaps perfection is an issue here. I want to do something that is perfect, but that will ultimately draw me closer to God. I flounder as I try to decide on the best option(s). So when Ash Wednesday arrived this year, I did not have a solid plan in place. I gave it some thought and decided to take a different route this time.
One goal I have every day of every year is to draw closer to God. The Bible says to draw close to God and He will draw close to you (James 4:8). He is always there and available. He never changes. So it’s not a matter of anything that God needs to do in order for me to draw closer to Him. But there are things that I can do to draw closer to God. And the same is true for each of us. There might be steps we can take to draw closer to God. And there might be things in our lives that are holding us back from a stronger relationship with God.
There are two questions I am asking God throughout this season of Lent, and I encourage you to ask God these two questions as well.
1 – What can I do to draw closer to God?
This would be an action you can take. Maybe devoting more time to reading the Bible. Or perhaps making changes to your prayer life. You might also consider reading a devotional to supplement your Bible reading. Is there anything in your life you can do to draw closer to God?
2 – What is holding me back from a stronger relationship with God?
There can be roadblocks on our spiritual path, things that keep us from drawing closer to God. Sometimes this might mean removing something from your life. Perhaps spending too much time on social media is an issue for you. Or it could be that you have an issue you need to tackle. For example, you might put a lot of weight on other people’s opinions. So in this case, you might need to work on laying that aside because it affects your spiritual life.
These are just some examples. The answers will be different for everyone. I encourage you to spend some time in prayer and ask God these two questions. If we approach God with a sincere heart, He will be happy to meet us and reveal to us any changes we need to make in our lives.