It's Not For Your Own Good

Lent is one of those religious seasons that most people know about, yet very few understand. Lent is the preparation for Easter, and for most Christians it involves picking something up or putting something down. Lent is a period that is designed to refine us so that we can experience more of the Kingdom of God here on Earth. Lent is meant to be challenging and it is meant to be tough.  But so many of us think that we can do it on our own.

I’ve fallen into that trap myself. Somewhere along the way I came to the conclusion that this is something I could handle. I’m just going to pick my Lenten resolution then knock it out of the park. Right? Like it could be that simple.

The problem is that the moment I decided that I am going to do it alone I’ve already decided to fail. God seems to be pounding that message into my head lately, “Tony, it doesn’t matter what you do if you don’t share it with someone else.” As I’ve prayed about that, meditated on it, and looked at scripture, I found myself coming back to the same question: Why?

Why does God want me to work on refining myself?
Why would God care what I do during Lent?
Why is all of this important?

One answer that I came up with is this: God doesn’t want me to be refined for my own good, but rather God wants me to be refined for the good of the world. In other words, Lent only works if we use it to make the world better.  It only has power if it propels us towards something greater, something like Easter. 

Lent without Easter is like joining a gym without ever going to workout. It’s kind of pointless. 

Lent in isolation is like finding the perfect gift then never giving it away. Like so many things Lent is better when we commit to doing it together. 

Take some time to reflect on what you are doing in your life; are you doing it just for you? Or are you doing it to impact the world around you?