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Reasons personal lent makes sense

By Allen Teal, chaplain

Rolla Presbyterian Manor

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting 40 days and 40 nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him… (Matthew 4:1-3a, NIV)

Lent begins on  Valentine’s Day. For many Christians, this will mark the start of major piece of the annual religious calendar. For the next 40 days (not counting Sundays), a time of sacrifice and service will take place. The period will end on March 31. This is just before Easter Sunday on April 1.

Christians need a mindset of service.

Having an extended time when your wants and needs are moved to the back and the needs of others are brought forward is important. The Apostle Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV).

We need a time to rethink what we value.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV).

We live in a barrage of negative news and difficult choices. Setting aside a block of time to practice “mental hygiene” can be profitable. Deliberately choose positive and good things to influence your thinking. This is valuable to a sense of wellbeing.

Consider Lent as a time of achievement and growth.

“Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1b-2a, NIV).

Adjusting the rhythms and patterns of your life will bring positive change.

Bad habits, poor friend choices, and improper lifestyles can be purged and left behind. This should result in a better outlook and may bring better health.

Plan a definite period for personal evaluation.

It will be more effective if you time this event with a calendar and not a clock. Use a journal to record your goals and progress. Seek God to help you improve yourself and become a blessing to those around you.

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