During the season of Lent, many people choose to give up some luxury or unhealthy habit. Our refraining from something we want reminds us of Jesus setting aside his power and dying on a cross for us. It leads us to repent of our sin- all our sin that Jesus paid for by willingly giving up his life.
Instead of giving something up, other people might choose to start doing some good thing. Some plan to read their Bibles or do an act of kindness every day.
Even if you don't do something intentional "for Lent," it's still a time of the year where we might naturally reflect on our relationship with God. It's now officially spring, and at least in Minnesota, we're hoping the weather stays that way. (I'm done with snow and scraping ice off my car every morning.) Seasons change, and we thank God for getting us through the winter. We enter a new season and think of the hopes it may hold: exercising outside, getting more done now that the sun's up longer, planning summer trips, looking forward to graduations and weddings.
Spring may have sprung, but what if we're still in a season of cold, and worry, and wondering? What if nothing is changing in our lives when we want it to?
We may be in a tough season, but God is with us through them all. We pray. We read his word, and he will grow our relationship with him.
Sometimes it's hard to do the very thing that will help us most. I enjoy reading blogs like this one or books on Christian living, but I admit I find myself shying away from reading the Bible with the same sort of enthusiasm. Or I maybe I do read the Bible, but then stop short of having a real conversation with God. I say quick prayers asking for help for the hurting around me, but so rarely for the hurting within me. I want a change of circumstances, not a change of heart.
The devil is so sneaky that he keeps us comfortable doing what we're doing. He makes me think I'm being a good Christian girl when I'm hardly turning to God at all. I can go to church every Sunday, help out with youth group, or even listen to extra sermons during the week, but God doesn't just want my volunteer hours. He actually wants me. The devil keeps me too busy (even with Godly pursuits) to realize how I'm doing things for God or about God, but not with God.
I want to talk to God all the time, feel that Jesus is my best friend, and know that he will reveal to me whatever I need to know at the proper time. I don't need to read the Bible more often so that God will reward me with some special insight into what path my life should take, I should read his word to be closer to him. To crave that relationship. To daily be reminded of his power and love for me.
The Bible may seem daunting at times, but when we pick a place to start, we see how God lives in relationship with his people. In the Old Testament, every time God's people leave him, God continues to work in their hearts and bring them back. The people repent and enjoy a season of living with God and the joy and blessings that brings.
The Psalms are our fellow Christians' cries of sorrow and despair, but also of thankfulness and praise. We see how God redeems us and brings us back to a place of contentment and confidence.
The Gospels are perhaps the easiest place to start reading and also the most important. The whole Bible points to Jesus and God's ultimate plan of salvation carried out by his Son as recorded in the books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are true accounts that not only point out a moral way to live, but also the reason for living at all.
There's nothing like reading the words of Jesus himself.
God wants relationship with us. He's given us direct access to him through the Bible and in prayer. 500 years ago, people could not read the Bible themselves in their own language, and church services were taught mostly in Latin, which the average person did not understand. Martin Luther saw this struggle and felt the call to translate the Bible into his native German language, with more Bible scholars later following his lead throughout the world. We also don't need to go through a priest or any other means to talk to God. Jesus broke down that curtain the day he died. We can go to the source with all our prayers and praise.
So as we reflect on Jesus love for us this Lenten season, we learn little by little how God calls us to draw near. It's a beautiful relationship, but like all relationships, it takes effort - in this case only from us. God will be there with open arms even when we have seasons of drifting away. God doesn't have to try to love us or purposely put time into our relationship. He is love and already has things figured out for us.
A good relationship makes you feel safe, and with a perfect God in control, we can relax and just enjoy his presence. Let's draw near and have some quality time with our Father.
How do you make quality time with our Father? What do you do during that time? Let us know below!