The Lenten Season – Day 26

IT’S RIGHT ENOUGH TO THINK OF LENT AS spiritual work—something we do, try, give up, add, or offer to God. But anything we do with God is both analogous—comparable—and disanalogous—completely incomparable—to its counterpart in the human realm. If Lent is spiritual labor, spiritual exercise, it does us the most good when offered to God and done his way. Just as stopping in God’s time can mean advancing, and giving can mean receiving, and being last is first and best, work in Lenten time is also Sabbath.

But during Lent, anything we remove from or add to our lives as a discipline should only serve to create room for more attention to Godto let the land lie fallow for a season. We refrain from grabbing all we can and instead reduce (even reduce what we expect from Lent, perhaps!), slow down, and pay attention to what thoughts, feelings, or desires might come nosing out of the woods of our hearts, like wild animals searching for Sabbath grapes.

In Lenten time, constraints should lead to liberty. They’re an invitation to feel our need for the Lord, for his mercy, provision, and timing, so that in this looser, more “jubilee” frame of mind, we might lighten our heart’s load.

Inhabit (a devotional journal for Lent by Dwell)

1 Timothy 4: 7-8

Don’t waste time arguing over foolish ideas and silly myths and legends. Spend your time and energy in the exercise of keeping spiritually fit. Bodily exercise is all right, but spiritual exercise is much more important and is a tonic for all you do. So exercise yourself spiritually, and practice being a better Christian because that will help you not only now in this life, but in the next life too.

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