Our family started Lent today with words of reminders to the kids that sounded like we were preparing them for something that would take a really long time. “40 days!” They exclaimed as the reality of what we were doing sunk in. As a family we won’t be obeying our cravings for sweet things during the week. We will say no to ourselves and when we say no to the sweet things we will remember the bitter… the bitterness of our sin… the bitterness of what Jesus did on the cross to free us from our sin.
“How can I keep on sinning when I am free? How can I forget what this sin did to the One I follow now?”
So for Lent, we will seek the Holy Spirit’s help and set the direction of our minds to the killing of the sins we still crave. It has a wilderness feel to it just like the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness. It is a fight! Even though we realize our weakness and inability to claim the victory there still is and must always be a fight. A fight against my sinful cravings. We want to say no but go back in weakness. “Jesus, we need you to perfectly defeat these temptations and defeat the attacker!” He did! We are not left to wallow in our unconquered sin, and this is definitely not where Lent should leaves us. But during Lent, with a heart that is moved to action, we will fight to kill our sin during the week with bitter reminders and prayers of help to the One who died for our sin. And then on Sundays we will feast on the sweetness of the One who fought and trampled our sin forever. We will celebrate the Victor who was tempted just like we are, but without sin.
Practically, what this looked like was a conversation at breakfast about killing sin and then reading the story about Jesus in the wilderness. Questions about fasting erupted at the end of the story and we talked about how giving up something can be a regular reminder to pray. The kids are intrigued and watching us. What is it going to look like? I’m still not sure.