Have you started your spring cleaning? Spring is less than two weeks away regardless of what the weather may be. Many people, with the renewal of the earth seen in the spring season; prepare to refresh, renew, and just clean out their lives. Getting rid of the clutter, cleaning up the dirt, and refreshing everything that surrounds you just seems right after a long winter and what better time to do it than while watching the earth do the same.
It seems like there are a lot of things that take on preparation this time of year. In addition to spring cleaning, fans of baseball watch for spring training. This is also a time of preparation, allowing for the baseball teams to practice, hon in their skills, and get ready for a new season in the sport. Spring just seems to bring out a desire to prepare for a multitude of things. This is also the idea behind Lent, a time to prepare.
Lent, itself, derives from the Anglo-Saxon words lencten, meaning ”Spring” and lenctentid, which literally means not only ”Springtide” but was also the word for ”March,” the month that most of the Lenten season resides in. It is a season of 40 days that begin on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Sunday’s are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a ”mini-Easter” and fill with joy in the anticipation that the resurrection Sunday or Easter brings.
Forty Days of Preparation
The forty-day time period of Lent is a preparation for the coming of Easter filled with repentance, fasting, and reflection. Forty days may seem like a long time if you are spring cleaning but the number forty holds special spiritual significance regarding preparation as noted in the Bible.
Moses spent forty days and nights on Mount Sinai with the Lord, preparing to receive the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 34:28) Elijah walked 40 days and 40 nights to the mountain of the Lord, Mt. Horeb. (1 Kings 19:8) And most importantly Jesus spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan to prepare to begin His ministry. (Luke 4:2)
How do you prepare for a new job? Most of us probably make some preparations when taking on a new position, but it is unlikely that we prepare as Christ did. As we don’t spend forty days and nights contemplating what our new job will entail and preparing for all scenarios. And if part of the preparation involved being constantly badgered and tempted most of us would say, thanks but no thanks, I am no longer interested. Thankfully, Christ didn’t do this. He made His commitment to God and no matter the cost or the sacrifice, He stood strongly by that commitment.
We all need to be prepared for life on earth. Our ”spring training” comes from the knowledge and relationship we hold with Christ. It is an ongoing education that is custom fitted for each individual person. But no matter how we come to know and love our God it is important to prepare for our permanent life with Him.
The Spring Commitment
What better time than to make a commitment to this preparation than through the ”spring cleaning” of the Lenten season. Taking the time to reflect more on God and all that Christ offers us is important. Because of His preparation for Good
When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left Him until the next opportunity came.Luke 4:13 (NLT)
Preparation, no matter how small, is a great step to move forward in a positive matter. Spending active time with God studying His Word is beneficial, but equally so is the quiet and meditative time spent alone with the Holy Spirit. For it is during this meditative and reflection time that we can strengthen our faith and see things more clearly. This helps us prepare for any challenges we face in the future.
Prepare to Stand Firm
By following the example set by Christ we can stand firm against temptation and trials relying fully on the Word and promises of God. A consistency of preparation through daily reflection, meditative listening, and studying His Word aids us for a life with Him and one that will hold no sin. This preparation allows us to follow Him no matter what circumstances we may find ourselves in.
Won’t you challenge yourself to prepare for Easter with a self ”spring cleaning” during this Lenten season? Take the time to reflect, meditate, and study. Hold tightly to your convictions knowing that Christ died, rose, and He will come again. Find your motivation in the security that Christ experienced life on earth facing many of the same temptations all humans face. Because of this He understands and sympathizes with the human condition. Lastly, surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that one day the sanctification will be complete, and you will be free of sin while living eternally in a sin-free world. So, prepare now to celebrate your ability to hold life everlasting because of Easter Sunday.
Love in Christ,
Benjamin Franklin said, ”By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” So, let us prepare for eternity by living for and in Christ at this very moment. It is in this way, as former President Jimmy Carter said, we live a life as if Christ will come this afternoon.
What are Your Thoughts?
Do you observe the Lenten Season? Have you found yourself with the need to do a little spring cleaning with your spiritual life? Share your thoughts on the necessary preparation for Easter.
Saunders, F. W. (2002). History of Lent. Retrieved from Catholic Education: https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/history-of-lent.html
United Methodist Church. (2019). What is Lent and why does it last forty days? Retrieved from United Methodist Church: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/what-is-lent-and-why-does-it-last-forty-days