Many early Christians prepared to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus with a season of repentance. Their practices varied widely from place to place and from time to time, but by the fourth century, the idea of spending forty days in preparation for Easter has crystallized into common practice. This Lenten season became a time of sobering reflection—on sins, on the death and decay of a world gone wrong, and on the hopeless condition we would be in without the intervention of God in Christ. Believers were encouraged to feel the full weight of these concepts by expressing repentance and denying themselves. It is perhaps the most solemn time of year for many Christians.
Lent is not meant to be depressing, however; it is meant to be reorienting.
Repentance is never an end in itself in God’s Kingdom; it always leads to joy. It is an entry point into a new way of seeing, the beginning of an inner transformation that changes our vision and the direction of our lives. It may remind us of our disappointments for a moment, but it is meant to move us quickly into the light, where our eyes are filled with awe, wonder, and anticipation. Even the most sober-minded believer contemplating the themes of Lent realizes the ways God has turned them all toward his glory and our ultimate good. When we gaze at his true nature, everything changes. The past fades away, and our hearts are filled with hope.
That is the purpose of this scripture calendar: to stir up the hope that God has give us in the midst of a fallen world. Throughout these readings, let yourself both feel the experiences of the first Holy Week and see the big picture of God’s redemptive plan. This season is a special time of the calendar and certainly more than a ritual. It’s a time to experience the wisdom and mercies of God. May he fill your heart, mind, and spirit with the fullness of his presence each day.
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from The Promise of Lent Devotional by Chris Tiegreen
Lent is a time of remembering Christ’s sacrifice—and yet it is not meant to be depressing; it is meant to be reorienting. The 40-day holy season is one of transition when we turn our eyes away from fading disappointments and move ever closer to the radiance of Easter hope.
This is the purpose of The Promise of Lent Devotional: to stir up the hope that God has given us in the midst of a fallen world. Each day you’ll read of death and new life, temptation and the power to overcome it, the life and ministry of Jesus, and the transformative power of God. Because when we gaze at God’s true nature—his sacrificial love and his glorious resurrection—everything changes. The past fades, the tomb’s stone rolls away, and our hearts awaken to faith once again. Discover that to be true this year, through The Promise of Lent Devotional.